Frank Ryan, the 1964 Cleveland Browns quarterback champion, dies at 87 from Alzheimer’s on New Year’s Day

Frank Ryan’s Legacy: A Champion On and Off the Field

Frank Ryan’s Football Triumphs and Legacy

Former NFL quarterback Frank Ryan, who led the Cleveland Browns to their last title in 1964, passed away on New Year’s Day at the age of 87.

Ryan’s stellar career included a significant victory in the NFL Championship game, where the Browns secured a remarkable 27-0 win over the Baltimore Colts.

His son, Frank ‘Pancho’ Ryan Jr., revealed that the legendary quarterback had been battling Alzheimer’s disease in a nursing home in Waterford, Connecticut.

A Football Career and Record of Excellence

Ryan’s impact on the football field extended over 13 years in the NFL, with a notable stint from 1962 to 1968 as a Cleveland starter. His impressive record of 52-22 showcased his skill and leadership.

The pinnacle of his career came in the 1964 NFL Championship game, where he threw three touchdown passes, propelling the Browns to an unforgettable triumph over the Colts.

Ryan’s contributions earned him three Pro Bowl selections during his tenure with the Browns.

Beyond Football: A Scholar and Leader

Apart from his achievements in football, Ryan pursued a successful career in academia.

Known for his prowess in mathematics, he taught at renowned institutions such as Rice University, Yale, and Case Western University.

During Cleveland’s title-winning season, Ryan concurrently worked towards his Ph.D.

in math at Rice University, showcasing his commitment to both academics and athletics.

Diverse Contributions Post-Retirement

Upon retiring from the NFL in 1970, Ryan transitioned to diverse roles outside of football.

His seven-year tenure with the US House of Representatives included serving as the Director of Development for the first computer voting system in Congress.

Additionally, he spent a decade as the Athletic Director at Yale University, leaving an indelible mark on the institution.

A Legacy of Awareness and Generosity

Ryan’s awareness of the impact of concussions and CTE disease on football players was evident, and he believed it played a role in his development of Alzheimer’s.

In a gesture of generosity, he donated his brain to the Boston University CTE center.

Despite his achievements, Ryan remained humble and connected with fans, fulfilling countless autograph requests throughout his life.

His family, a source of immense love and support, was with him until the end.

Frank Ryan’s legacy extends beyond the football field, encompassing academic excellence, leadership, and a commitment to raising awareness about the challenges faced by athletes.

His impact resonates in the annals of both sports and academia.

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