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Reaction to death of Raiders owner Al Davis
Question of the Day
“Al Davis’s passion for football and his influence on the game were extraordinary. He defined the Raiders and contributed to pro football at every level. The respect he commanded was evident in the way that people listened carefully every time he spoke. He is a true legend of the game whose impact and legacy will forever be part of the NFL.” _ NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“It is because of this accomplished man and his forever love of Silver and Black, the fire that burned in him I will honor and will always and forever burn in me.” _ Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson.
“Al Davis was a good man, and we were friendly rivals. He was a football man and did a lot for the game of football. I had a lot of respect for him, and he will be missed throughout the entire NFL.” _ Pittsburgh Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney.
“It’s a sad day. When you look at the landscape of the National Football League and what Al Davis did, it’s immense. It’s no secret that we didn’t see eye-to-eye at times, but I’ve always been grateful for the opportunity that he gave me, and I’ll always remember that.” _ Marcus Allen, the MVP in the Raiders‘ last Super Bowl win.
“We’ve got to rally together. The only thing Mr. Davis would want us to do is win. That’s the only thing he ever talks about is just winning, and going out there and playing as hard as you can play. That’s how you have to do it from here on out. You just have to go out and if you want to honor him, just honor him by going out and playing as hard as you can to win.” _ Oakland Raiders QB Jason Campbell.
“He was a pioneer. He did so many things. He was a coach, he was the commissioner of the AFL, became the owner of the Raiders and he ran that club the way he saw fit. He brought in players that everyone else was discarding, including me, and he made it work. And he let you be who you were. We had some guys who liked to have a lot of fun, me included. But when it came Sunday and game day, those guys were always ready to play. He had a knack for getting all of them to play together.” _ Jim Plunkett, who won two Super Bowl titles after Davis revived his career by bringing him to Oakland.
“A visionary who was ahead of the curve in so many ways, Coach Davis had a great grasp of personnel, schemes and strategy. I learned a tremendous amount of football during my six years with his organization. His sole focus and passion in life was the Raiders. He was at practice every day and very aware of what was going on organizationally. He challenged you to be your best, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave me as a head coach.” _ Bill Callahan, former Raiders coach and current Jets assistant.
“Al was a football man _ his entire life revolved around the game he loved. He worked his way up through the ranks and had a knowledge of all phases of the game. That experience aided him as an owner. He was quite different from every other owner in that way. As an AFL guy, he was in that group of people who pushed our league forward. I didn’t get to see him over the last few years, and I know many, including myself, will miss him.” _ Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams, an original AFL owner of the Houston Oilers.
“He wasn’t afraid of standing alone and making a bold move such as suing the league. He had naysayers, but he didn’t care, because he didn’t care what people thought. He wasn’t always right, but he did what he thought was right for the Raiders and the league.” _ former Raiders linebacker Matt Millen.
“In my eyes, so much of his legacy will be defined by the loyalty he had for the men who played for the Raiders and the love that they had for him. That was a bond that extended beyond the playing years and lasted lifetimes. His contributions and expertise were inspiring at every level _ coach, general manager, owner and commissioner. There was no element of the game of professional football for which Al did not enjoy a thorough and complete level of knowledge and passion.” _ Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
“Forty-eight years ago, I met Al, and every once in a while in your life, someone comes along that changes the direction of your life. He did that to me and changed the direction with his passion for the Raiders and professional football. He was a dear man, my mentor and most of all, my friend. I will miss him.” _ former Raiders coach Tom Flores, the first Latino coach in the NFL.
“He was an iconic figure in the history of professional football and built a truly legendary franchise with the Raiders. I consider myself fortunate to have known him and to have been a part of that Raiders history. Even though our relationship did not end the way I would have liked, I have nothing but the greatest respect for Mr. Davis, and I truly appreciate the opportunity he afforded me and so many young coaches, players and staff.” _ Lane Kiffin, former Raiders coach and current Southern California head coach.
“I came to the Raiders in 1967 with the trade with Denver. It was the best thing that happened in my career to come and play for Mr. Davis. I’ve surely enjoyed every year, and I’ve been here over 41 years. … I’ve enjoyed every year of being here with him, and it’s a loss not only to the Raider organization, but to all of America.” _ former Raiders Hall of Famer cornerback Willie Brown.
“From the earliest days of the AFL, Al’s love for the game and fierce loyalty to his franchise contributed to the success and popularity of pro football. His competitive spirit helped develop the great rivalry our team and fans enjoy today with the Oakland Raiders. His contributions to the game played an important role in building the strong foundation the NFL enjoys today.” _ Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt.
“Mr. Davis is a titan and pillar of the game. I had the pleasure and honor to know him and to work for him. And to me, he is the greatest. The autumn wind will always be a Raider.” _ San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
“Al was a fiery individualist, an important part of pro football _ the AFL and NFL _ for almost 50 years. His teams had times of great success, and he was heavily involved both on and off the field. I admired the achievements the Raiders attained under Al.” _ Cincinnati Bengals owner and president Mike Brown.
“While I am saddened by the news of Mr. Davis‘ passing, I will forever be heartened and enriched by the many personal interactions I had with him over the years. His winning, his football knowledge, his passion for his team and contributions to the league made him one of the all-time greats. By striving for the highest level of excellence with our respective teams and the game itself, we will be honoring the memory of Al Davis.” _ New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
“Al was an American Football League pioneer and a legendary Hall of Fame contributor to the National Football League. He was one of the first owners to welcome me into the NFL in 1994, which was a great thrill for me personally and an introduction that I will never forget. I always admired his passion for the game and enjoyed listening to his historical account of some of the game’s most memorable moments. He had a unique style and a certain aura about him that would be hard to ever replicate.” _ Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
“I learned a lot from Al Davis. I think I kind of became the coach I became in the league, demanding and detail-oriented, because of what I learned all that from Al.” _ Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, a former assistant coach for the Raiders.
“This is a sad day for Raider Nation and the NFL. But it’s a day to think about all Mr. Davis did for football. He was truly one of a kind.” _ Bengals quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, who played in Oakland from 2009-10.
“During my 28 years with the Broncos, I came to know Al Davis as one of the most influential and innovative people in the history of the National Football League. … I respected Al for what he meant to the NFL. He was a visionary who defined the Raiders and had an enormous responsibility for the prosperity of this league.” _ Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.
“Al Davis is one of the main reasons our family is in the NFL today. Al approached my dad (Alex Spanos) about getting involved in the NFL and was very helpful to us through the process. … He personified the image and mystique of the Raiders, and that image has helped build the strength of our rivalries and the popularity of our game. There has been no one in the NFL like Al Davis.” _ San Diego Chargers president Dean Spanos.
“Al and I were very good friends for many years, and I admired his innovative approach to the game of football. Al had a great impact on the American Football League that carried over to the National Football League after the merger, and his competitive spirit embodied our sport. Al’s Raiders may not have won every game, but you knew that you were in for a tough, hard-fought contest every time you played them, regardless of the score.” _ Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr.
“Mr. Davis was a pioneer in our league and a visionary in its development. His contributions still remain a major part of our game today.” _ New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.
“Al Davis was truly a pioneer of the football world who made tremendous contributions to the league. It was a pleasure to serve with him. He leaves an indelible mark on professional football from his many years as a coach, general manager and owner.” _ Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver.
“He was an icon, a legend, a pioneer. I’m honored that he chose to draft me. It was a great pleasure being a part of Raider Nation, part of all the great teams and players that put on that Silver and Black. You don’t know what it means to be a Raider until you are a Raider, and that was his team. He spoke to you not just as an owner but as a coach. He was very hands-on. You felt his presence, and he really cared for you and your family.” _ Bengals linebacker Thomas Howard, Oakland’s second-round pick in 2006 who played there five years.
“Al Davis has long been a pillar of professional football and a leader of one of our most legendary franchises. His contributions, dedication and foresight changed the game for the better. The league has lost one of its all-time greats.” _ Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.
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