BEREA, Ohio (AP) -Gene Hickerson, the Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame guard whose blocking helped Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly and Bobby Mitchell make the shrine, died after a long illness. He was 73.
Hall of Fame spokesman Joe Horrigan confirmed Hickerson's death. He said Hickerson's son, Bob, received a phone call from the care facility where his father was under care on Monday morning.
Hickerson was Brown's personal bodyguard on the field, clearing the way for No. 32, who called Hickerson ``the greatest downfield blocker in the history of pro football.'' When Hickerson was inducted into the hall in 2007, Brown, Kelly and Mitchell pushed Hickerson's wheelchair onto the stage in Fawcett Stadium.
for the league's All-Decade team of the 1960s.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

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