Former Buffalo Bills running back Curtis Brown died Thursday in St. Louis, according to a report from KDSK-TV in St. Louis. The 60-year-old was being treated for football-related dementia when he suffered a heart attack on Saturday.
Brown was a third-round draft choice of the Bills and played six of his seven NFL seasons with Buffalo from 1977-82. His best year with the Bills came in 1978 when he rushed for 591 yards on 128 attempts – the year he took over the backfield after O.J. Simpson was traded to San Francisco.
Brown also cracked the 500-yard mark in the next two seasons, 1979 and 1980. In the latter season, the Bills won the AFC East for the first time. Brown was second on the team in rushing that season to rookie Joe Cribbs. Brown’s playing time dropped after that season, as he served in a backup role for the next two years.
He played for the Houston Oilers in 1983, appearing in two games.
Over his career, Brown rushed for 2,171 yards and scored nine touchdowns.
In 2013, Art Holliday wrote about Brown’s treatment for football-related dementia for KDSK-TV. Brown said he suffered four concussions, but his neurologist, Dr. David Brady at the Barnes Jewish Hospital said in the article, “We really think of the reported concussions like the four that Mr. Brown reported, as potentially the tip of an iceberg. There might be a lot under the surface that we don’t know about.”
When asked by Holliday if he would do anything different, Brown said, “I’d live my life the same.”
Brown grew up in St. Charles, Mo., and went on to star for the University of Missouri. In 1976 he anchored the Tigers in two upset road wins against USC and Ohio State, both ranked in the top 10 at the time. Against USC, Brown rushed for 101 yards with three touchdowns, including a 95-yard kickoff return and 49-yard touchdown pass.
Brown is survived by his parents, Marian L. Baker and Clifford Moore; his children Michelle Brown, Camille Brown, Eban Curtis Brown, Melbina Brown; and siblings Donna Matthews, Gregory Baker and Tamara S. Daniels.