On the day the 2019 Hall of Fame class was making their induction speeches, we all learned of the tragic passing of an NFL legend who by all rights should have been in Canton this weekend. The great Cliff Branch.
His passing put a somber note on what should have otherwise been a celebration of NFL achievement. The NFL world mourned his passing.
“Cliff Branch touched the lives of generations of Raiders fans. His loss leaves an eternal void for the Raiders Family, but his kindness and loving nature will be fondly remembered forever. Cliff’s on-field accomplishments are well documented and undeniably Hall of Fame worthy, but his friendship and smile are what the Raider Nation will always cherish.”
Or as Mark Davis said...
"Cliff Was My Best Friend.. I Will Miss Him Dearly"— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) August 4, 2019
Here is a short video that was posted which reminds you of how revered Cliff Branch was with a few Hall of Famers saying without reservation that he was a Hall of Fame player.
"No one had what Cliff had." #Raiders pic.twitter.com/XBC8jQX6IC— Raider Posts (@RaiderPosts) August 4, 2019
I tweeted this the day before he passed, when the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced they would be inducting 10 senior era players next year.
Is there any question one of the two coach choices for enshrinement should be Tom Flores? And one of the senior era players should be Cliff Branch?— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) August 2, 2019
A year too late.
From my Dad and the rest of the Villapiano family... “Rest in Peace to the best wife receiver that should be in the Hall of Fame. We love you you. Rest In Peace, Buddy.” #CliffBranch @Raiders pic.twitter.com/AGtcoVDu6b— VILLAPIANO (@VillapianOk) August 4, 2019
Talk about waking up feeling dangerous. Cliff Branch was dangerous every time he stepped on the football field. Here’s hoping he’s recognized next year in Canton in the expanded 20-man HOF class. https://t.co/aK9o6tIrAs— Don Banks (@DonBanks) August 4, 2019
Man RIP To a legend #CliffBranch #Raiders #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/FjDkxqVc3f— Will Blackmon (@WillBlackmon) August 4, 2019
In a time of celebration for fellow players being inducted into the pro football HOF I’m saddened to hear about the passing of cliff branch. Another great player that won’t be here to see himself inducted. Love you Cliff @Raiders— Charles Woodson (@CharlesWoodson) August 4, 2019
#RIP Cliff Branch. #Legend https://t.co/303GlaJhXD— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) August 4, 2019
damn, Cliff Branch passed away. Guy should be in Canton, a big play, clutch WR, who was a part of Super Bowl teams. Met him once at a card show, great guy. RIP21 #SpeedKills #Raiders #NFL— Steve Kim (@StevESPNKim) August 4, 2019
RIP #CliffBranch . Another icon of my youth. Shame on the NFL Hall of Fame for not honoring Mr Branch https://t.co/Wr1NuE65GM— Marcos Breton (@MarcosBreton) August 4, 2019
Rest In Peace to a true @Raiders Legend Cliff Branch. Whenever you saw me you would always tell me how much you loved the way I played the game. Going to miss those interactions with you. RIP #21 #OnceARaiderAlwaysARaider— Kirk Morrison (@kirkmorrison) August 4, 2019
Hearing of Cliff Branch passing hurts. He always had nothing but a smile on his face every time I saw and always said I reminded him of himself. Just have to give my condolences to the family. Thank you for Paving the way and you’ll never be forgotten. RIP CLIFF BRANCH 21— Jacoby Ford (@JacobyFord12) August 4, 2019
Cliff Branch was the first player to score 8 TDs on kick returns and still shares the NCAA record almost 50 years later. https://t.co/EMLAKkOGHq pic.twitter.com/NknWnzSbcA— Curtis Snyder (@CurtisCSnyder) August 4, 2019
Smooth, had crazy swag to be his age. I remember everything we talked about after every game. May you watch over me 4 eva. Love1’s. Cliff Branch. Great heart and soul.— Seth Roberts (@SethTRoberts) August 4, 2019
RIP, Raiders Legend. The Great Cliff Branch has moved on. #BePeace— Carl Weathers (@TheCarlWeathers) August 4, 2019
@Raiders My heart is broken hearing the news of Cliff Branch passing! A few years back we shared the stage for the induction into the CAHOF. It's a moment now even more special. #Rip21— Tim Brown (@81TimBrown) August 4, 2019
RIP @Raiders great Cliff Branch. I wanted you to have your place in Canton. I hope it happens someday #theautumnwind— Nancy Gay (@nancygay) August 4, 2019
I’m saddened to hear the news about Cliff Branch. He was a true Raider and will be greatly missed. #21— Jon Condo (@JonCondo) August 4, 2019
Rest in Peace Cliff Branch and thank you for being such a inspiration. I started wearing #21 because of you in the 80's for your play on the field, but after meeting you in person you were a genuine legend.— Eric Allen (@EricAllen619) August 4, 2019
More sad news, one of my All Time favorite WRs #21 Cliff Branch Oakland Raiders, has passed away. Heartbreaking. This news is horrible. Bless the Branch family and Raider Nation. #RaiderNation #Raiders— Sean Salisbury (@SeanUnfiltered) August 4, 2019
The world lost a good man. Cliff Branch was not only a great raider, but he was a good friend. Always positive and good company, even through tough times. One of the best receivers to ever play the game. One of the best guys I’ve ever known. RIP#21 love you.— Lincoln Kennedy (@LKennedy72) August 4, 2019
#12 to #21 was magic. Brothers on and off of the field. @Raiders pic.twitter.com/NHRIsoISqe— Ken Stabler (@TheKenStabler) August 4, 2019
RIP my dear friend and team mate. Words are not enough to soften this blow to our Raider Alumni family.— Ted Hendricks (@HOFTed83) August 4, 2019