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Former strong safety, Ring of Fame inductee Brig Owens passes away at age 79

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Former Washington strong safety Brig Owens, who became a mainstay of the team's secondary in the 1960s and 1970s and was a Ring of Fame inductee, died Wednesday morning. He was 79.

Owens, a seventh-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 1965, joined Washington in 1966 and spent 12 seasons with the team. He started in 123 of 156 games, recording 36 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries. He also scored five interceptions, three of which came during his first two seasons in Washington.

Owens began his playing career as a quarterback. After playing for Fullerton Union High School in Orange County, California, he was named the starting quarterback for Fullerton Junior College, which won the 1961 Orange Bowl with Owens under center.

He then transferred to the University of Cincinnati, which inducted him in the Athletics Hall of Fame in 1979 for helping the team win two Missouri Valley Conference titles as part of a career that included a 16-5 record.

After being drafted by the Cowboys, Owens spent a year on the practice squad before being traded to Washington.

Owens immediately established himself as a key member of Washington's secondary. He secured seven interceptions in his first season with the team, three of which came during a 72-41 victory over the New York Giants -- the highest scoring game in NFL history. Two years later, Owens recorded eight interceptions. Six of those picks came in the first nine weeks of the season.

Owens was a critical player during Washington's Super Bowl run in 1972, recording an interception from Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese.

Owens gained 686 yards from his 36 interceptions, which is a franchise record, and he is second all-time in career interceptions in franchise history.

Owens retired from the NFL in 1977 and later served as the assistant executive director for the NFLPA.

Owens is survived by his wife, Patricia, and his two daughters, Robin and Tracy.

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