While the Raider Nation is caught up in the early moments of the 2019 training camp, it was blindsided with some sad news as former Raiders great Cliff Branch has passed away at the age of 71. One of the most generous Raiders to ever don the Silver and Black, Branch leaves behind a strong following.

Cliff Branch, a fourth round pick in 1972, spent his entire 14-year career with the Raiders in both Oakland and Los Angeles. He was a member of three Super Bowl champion Raider teams in Super Bowl XISuper Bowl XV and Super Bowl XVIII. Branch caught three passes for 20 yards in Super Bowl XI, five passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns in Super Bowl XV, and six passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XVIII.

Many NFL fans believe Branch was Hall of Fame worthy. The former Colorado Buffalo was a first team All-Pro in four consecutive seasons from 1974 to 1977 and was also named to four consecutive Pro Bowls. In 1974, Branch led the National Football League in both receiving yards (1,092) and receiving touchdowns (13). During the 1983 season, Branch set the Raiders franchise record for the longest touchdown reception (99 yards), on a pass from Jim Plunkett.

Branch finished his 14 NFL seasons with 501 receptions for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns. He also rushed for 70 yards and returned 9 kickoffs for 191 yards. When he retired, he led the NFL in post season receptions (73) and yards (1,289) for an average of 17.7 yards per catch, scoring 5 touchdowns to close out his career.

No official word has come from the Raiders but expect a statement and tribute this season, the team’s final in Oakland.