TV pioneer and former NFL star Irv Cross dies at 81

Irv Cross, center, talks with broadcast partners Dick Butkus, left, and Brent Musburger on the air prior to the start of an NFL game around 1989.

(CNN)Broadcasting pioneer and former NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Irv Cross died Sunday morning in Minnesota, the Philadelphia Eagles announced on the team's website. He was 81.

Cross was the first African American sports analyst on national television when he worked for CBS Sports as an NFL analyst and commentator from 1971 to 1994.
He anchored the Emmy-winning show "The NFL Today," from its inception in 1975 through 1989. Cross also covered other sports, including the NBA, track and field and gymnastics.