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One of the captains of the last Seattle Seahawks team to taste postseason glory passed away suddenly Tuesday at the age of 52.
Dave Brown, whose 11-year Seahawks career as a cornerback was highlighted by playoff wins in 1983 and 1984, died while playing basketball in Lubbock, Texas. He was an assistant football coach there with Texas Tech University.
The news saddened the few remaining employees who are still with the Seahawks organization.
"I'm totally numb," said current quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, who played with Brown for nine seasons. "It really is a shock. I talked to him while he was on the recruiting trail with Texas Tech, and there were no obvious (physical) signs of anything going wrong."
According to reports out of Lubbock, Brown died of an apparent heart attack he suffered during an afternoon pickup basketball game on campus.
Former teammate Charle Young described Brown as the kind of person who stayed in top physical shape even into his 50s. Like Zorn, Young played with Brown on the 1984 team that holds the distinction of being the last Seahawks unit to win a playoff game.
"Dave Brown was a leader," Young said Tuesday night. "Dave Brown was a family man. Dave Brown was a believer in God.
"When anyone who believes in God is lost, there is no sadness."
Seahawks vice president Gary Wright, one of the few remaining employees who have been with the organization since its inception, was also shaken by the news.
"I don't know anybody who didn't love Dave Brown," Wright said. "He was a special guy: a special player and a special person. He was a great guy to have around."
Brown is the franchise's all-time leader in interceptions (50) and also ranks among the Seahawks' top 10 in games played (159) and games started (159).
Brown was an assistant coach with the Seahawks from 1992 to '98, serving under former head coach and Everett native Dennis Erickson during most of his tenure. He started coaching Texas Tech's secondary in 2001.
"Dave lived a great life that anyone could be proud of," Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach said in a statement. "He will be missed, but we are honored to have had the opportunity to know him."
As one of the nine members of the Seahawks Ring of Honor, Brown was invited to attend a tribute at halftime of this Saturday's playoff game against the Washington Redskins. But Brown, who would have turned 53 on Monday, had already informed team officials that his travel schedule would probably have prevented him from making the trip.
According to a statement put out by Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke on Tuesday, the team will observe a moment of silence in Brown's honor before the game.
"We're going to miss him," Zorn said. "... It won't be the same without him."