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John revolutionized the tight end position during his Hall of Fame career, and he laid the foundation on and off the field for modern NFL players,” Ravens general manager and fellow Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome said.

Mackey caught 35 passes for 726 yards as a rookie in 1963, when he was selected to the first of five Pro Bowls. He also was voted first-team All-Pro by The Associated Press in 1966, ‘67 and ‘68.

John set the standard by which tight ends are measured on the field, and he will be sorely missed not only by his family, but also by the entire Baltimore community,” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in a statement.

After he retired, Mackey joined Mike Ditka as the first tight ends selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The John Mackey Award was established to honor the nation’s top college tight end.

Mackey made several trips to the Carrier Dome for Orange home games over the years, but those appearances became less frequent as his condition worsened. One of his last visits was on Sept. 15, 2007, when Syracuse retired his No. 88 jersey in a halftime ceremony against Illinois.

John was the perfect role model for Syracuse football student-athletes,” Syracuse coach and former NFL player Doug Marrone said. “He was a larger-than-life man and he influenced so many people. Many consider him the greatest tight end in NFL history and he was a pioneer in the development in the NFL Players Association.”