DearCliff_2560x1440 (1)

This story was originally published on Feb. 10, 2022.

Dear Cliff,

Congratulations, my friend. You've done it.

This recognition of your career is long overdue, and I couldn't be happier to see you finally enshrined in Canton. You are just as deserving as any receiver that has gotten into the Hall of Fame. You were an impact player; somebody who made a difference in all the games we played with you.

Everyone knew it was easy money when you got off the line of scrimmage and ran. When you wanted something deep to turn the game around, you threw the ball to Cliff. It was phenomenal to see you play and an honor to be not only part of your historic career, but a friend and confidant.

There are very few people you meet in life who always have a smile on their face. Cliff, you were that person. If you wanted to get inspiration from somebody who had such a personality, it was always you.

You were an impact player; somebody who made a difference in all the games we played with you.

In our friendship, you never got down on yourself; you were always up. No matter what happened out on the field, no matter how tough things got, you were always battling. You learned to fight when you came in with us, with the Raiders. A young kid who learned how to fight and how to be a big factor in a game, you went and you grew and kept growing and growing, and I've never seen anything like it in my life.

The one thing I'll always see when I think of you is that incredible smile. To this day, it stays with me. I can still see you running down that field, ball in hand, fast as can be, with a smile as you took it to the end zone.

Clifford, once you get that jacket on, I know you're going to do one thing – you're never going to take it off. You'll wear it to bed, you'll wear it to breakfast, you'll wear it to dinner, you'll wear it to lunch, you'll wear it everywhere you can. I know you; you'll never take it off because you'll be so proud to be one of us again, Cliff.

We'll be together again, brother, in the Hall of Fame.

Fred

Take a look back at photos from Raiders legend Cliff Branch's historic career in the Silver and Black.

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