Former Eagles cornerback, CBS broadcaster Irv Cross dies at 81

CBS NFL Today Show member Irv Cross
Irv Cross, seen here in 1986, played in the league from 1961-69, and then spent 23 years with CBS as an NFL analyst. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Longtime cornerback and broadcaster Irv Cross died on Sunday near his Minnesota home, the Philadelphia Eagles announced.

He was 81.

Cross spent nine seasons in the league from 1961-69, first with the Eagles after they picked him up in the seventh round of the 1961 draft. Cross played his first five seasons in the NFL with the Eagles before a brief three-year stint with the Los Angeles Rams starting in 1966. He then returned to Philadelphia for one final season before retiring in 1969.

Cross racked up 22 total interceptions and recovered 11 fumbles throughout his career, and earned Pro Bowl nods in 1964 and 1965.

Cross made the jump to CBS Sports in 1971 as an NFL analyst, and joined "The NFL Today" pregame show with Brent Musburger, Phyllis George and Jimmy Snyder just four years later. Cross was the first Black network sports show anchor, another historic first for the show — as George was the first woman to do so, too.

"I've been around all kinds of people, from every walk of life. I don't know that I could give you one person who was nicer than Irv Cross,” Musburger said, via the Eagles. “He was a constant gentleman.”

Cross was on the pregame show for 14 years and with CBS for 23. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame as the Pete Rozelle Award recipient in 2009.

Cross later worked as the athletic director at both Idaho State and Macalester College, and worked as the executive director of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Minnesota and Love Inc.

He is survived by his wife, Liz, and their four children.

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