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Raiders receiving great Cliff Branch dies at 71

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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A former track star, Cliff Branch blazed his way to 14 NFL seasons with the Raiders, celebrating three Super Bowl championships along the way.

Branch has passed away at 71, the Raiders announced Saturday in statement.

"Cliff Branch touched the lives of generations of Raiders fans," the statement read. "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."

Raiders owner Mark Davis tweeted Saturday on the Raiders' twitter account, "Cliff was my best friend. I will miss him dearly."

The Bullhead City Police Department (Arizona) tweeted out that on Saturday at approximately 3:40 p.m., Branch was found dead in a hotel room in Bullhead City. "The initial investigation revealed no suspected foul play and that Mr. Branch died of natural causes," the statement read.

Branch helped the Silver and Black to victories in Super Bowl XI, Super Bowl XV and Super Bowl XVIII.

Across his career, Branch was a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro.

In total, Branch tallied 501 catches for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns, forever known for breaking the big play as he averaged 17.3 yards per catch. He had two 1,000-yard receiving seasons, including a league-high 1,092 in 1974.

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