Irv Cross, Former NFL Player and First Black Full-Time Sports Analyst, Dies at 81

Irv Cross joined “The NFL Today” in 1975, becoming the first Black man to work full time as a sports analyst on national television. Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Irv Cross, the former Pro Bowl defensive back who became the first Black man to work full time as a sports analyst on national television with CBS, died Sunday. He was 81.

The Philadelphia Eagles, with whom Cross spent six of his nine NFL seasons, said Cross’ son, Matthew, confirmed his father died near his home in Roseville, Minnesota. The cause of death was not provided.

“All of us at CBS Sports are saddened by the news of Irv Cross’ passing,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. “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 trailblazer in the sports television industry and will be remembered for his accomplishments and the paths he paved for those who followed.”

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