Cliff Branch earns his place in Canton on a bittersweet day for his family

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Cliff Branch waited a long time to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He became eligible in 1991.

The former Raiders receiver, though, died in 2019, three years before his induction into Canton.

His sister, Elaine Anderson, delivered Branch’s acceptance speech Saturday on behalf of all of Branch’s siblings.

“Today is bittersweet, because we miss our Cliff,” Anderson said. “It’s sweet because it is now history. I want to you there’s a sweet spirit in this place today. Our Clifford, No. 21, would not miss this crowning for nothing. He longed for his day, and 21 is seated front and center with Al Davis and John Madden.”

Anderson said Branch’s blood turned silver and black the day the Raiders drafted him in 1972. He played with the team through 1986, winning three Super Bowl rings and earning All-Pro three times.

In 1974, Branch led the league in receiving yards, and he finished his career with 501 receptions for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns.

Branch was 71 when he died.

“Wow, what a legacy he lives,” Anderson said in ending the 4-minute speech. “Today is perfect.”

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