Brig Owens, former Washington defensive back, dies at 79

Brig Owens, a standout defensive back for Washington in the 1960s and 1970s, died Wednesday at the age of 79, the Commanders said in a statement.

A member of Washington's Super Bowl VII team and one of the franchise's most prolific interceptors, Owens played 12 of his 13 years in the NFL in D.C. The safety racked up 36 interceptions in 158 regular-season games played for Washington, the second-most picks in club history behind Hall of Famer Darrell Green (54). Owens' 686 interception return yards are the most in Washington history.

Owens' pick prowess extended to the postseason. The safety recorded the lone interception of Dolphins great Bob Griese in Super Bowl VII, a red-zone snag late in the third quarter that kept Washington's deficit to two scores. Miami eventually won, 14-7, completing its 17-0 perfect season.

"Brig was a beloved part of our organization and community," the team said, "and was rightfully honored as a member of the 80 Greatest Players in Washington history and Washington Commanders Ring of Fame.

"He was not only a standout on the gridiron but also a well-respected and accomplished businessman in the Washington community. He was a man of great character, always there to help someone in need. Brig's impact on this community will never be forgotten."

A former quarterback, placekicker and punter at Cincinnati, Owens was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round of the 1965 draft and converted to safety. He was traded to Washington ahead of the 1966 season and stayed there for the remainder of his career.

In addition to his Super Bowl interception, Owens is best remembered for his two defensive touchdowns in Washington's 72-41 victory over the Giants in 1966, still the highest-scoring game in NFL history.

Owens retired in 1977, later served as the assistant executive director for the NFL Players Association and was inducted into Washington's Ring of Fame.

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