The NFL family mourned the loss of Dennis Green, an acclaimed football coach who taught both at the college and professional level, after word broke that Friday that he died after suffering from a heartattack.
His family confirmed the news to the NFL, saying that Green passed away surrounded by family and friends after suffering from complications related to a heart attack.
Green held a slew of high-profile positions. After serving has the head coach at Northwestern University from 1981 to 1985, he became the head coach of Stanford University's football team from 1989 to 1991. During that time, he took on a job as the wide receivers coach for the San Francisco 49ers, before eventually moving on to the Minnesota Vikings from 1992 to 2001, and the Arizona Cardinals from 2004 to 2006.
He became a household name after he let loose during a post-game press conference for the Cardinals. A popular phrase he said during that rant, "They are who we thought they were," then became immortalized in commercials and later in meme form.
"That clip -- still played regularly during the football season -- was a snapshot of Green's gritty, live-wire personality," the NFL wrote in an article commemorating his life and announcing his death.
"All of us at the Cardinals are incredibly saddened by the news of Dennis Green's passing," wrote Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations, in a statement. "Coach Green will rightly be remembered as a true innovator, leader and pioneer among football coaches. We express our deepest sympathy to his family and his many friends."
Fans of Green's flocked to social media Friday to pay their respects.
If you're a Black man above 40 you remember Dennis Green at Stanford and Northwestern in a time Black men were not accepted as quarterbacks. — Baby Gordon Parks (@lilvanpeebles) July 22, 2016
R.I.P Dennis Green ���� "They are what we thought they were" — Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) July 22, 2016
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