Former NFL defensive back and first full-time black sports analyst Irv Cross died Sunday near his home in Minnesota, his son confirmed to the Associated Press (AP).
Cross’ cause of death was not provided, according to the outlet.
Irv Cross, the former NFL defensive back who became the first Black man to work full-time as a sports analyst on national television, died Sunday. He was 81. https://t.co/FYG62B8Qz4
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) March 1, 2021
Cross spent nine years in the NFL and six of them with the Philadelphia Eagles. Cross later joined CBS in 1971, making him the first black man to hold a full-time sports analyst position, the AP reported. He left the network in 1994. (RELATED: REPORT: Former Notre Dame Football Star Louis Nix Found Dead)
Cross anchored “The NFL Today” from 1975 until 1989, CNN reported.
“All of us at CBS Sports are saddened by the news of Irv Cross’ passing,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. “Irv was a pioneer who made significant contributions to the storied history and tradition of CBS Sports and, along with Phyllis George and Brent Musburger, set the standard for NFL pregame shows with ‘The NFL Today.’ He was a true gentleman and a trail blazer in the sports television industry and will be remembered for his accomplishments and the paths he paved for those who followed.”
Cross was one of 15 children, according to the AP. He is survived by his wife Liz; children, Susan, Lisa, Matthew and Sarah; grandson Aiden; brothers Raymond, Teal and Sam; sisters Joan, Jackie, Julia, Pat, and Gwen, according to the outlet.