THE AUTUMN WIND: 60 YEARS OF RAIDER FOOTBALL


By Gary Norris Gray, Staff Reporter

The National Football League will celebrate its 100th year this fall. This is the Oakland Raider contribution with 60 years of their history. We start with the most iconic team song.

OAKLAND, CA:-The Autumn Wind lyrics and melody have played in my head at the beginning of each year’s pre season. The low bellicose voice of John Facenda of Philadelphia’s WCAU-TV and NFL Films echoing the words, The Autumn Wind, The Raider National Anthem, The Raider Pride and Poise, that Commitment to Excellence.

The Oakland Raiders created one the foundations of the old (AFL) American Football League on the west coast. Those eight teams have stood the test of time. The Black and Silver with its shinning armor stands tall with four Super Bowls.

Former owner, the late Al Davis explains it this way. Al stated many times, “Son, I think highly enough of you to give you so-and-so’s number, now honor it.”  Many Oakland Raiders players did just that winning three Super Bowls in the Bay and a fourth in Los Angeles.

Davis took the sentimentality out of the number, he attempted to say that no Raider is any better than any other; no Raider is more important than anyone else, we’re all one. It has worked for 60 years.

The Oakland Raiders appeared in five Super Bowls winning three. The Raiders have 15 Division Championships and competed in 14 AFL/AFC Championship games. This is the mark of a champion. Now it’s time to honor the warriors on the field that have put on the infamous Black and Silver with the famous eye patch. The original football pirate

This will also be the last year in the Bay Area, The last year at Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. Next year The Black and Silver will cross state lines into Nevada to start their new journey in Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas. The question remains will Raider Nation follow?

Here are the names and numbers from 0-99:

00 – Jim Otto- Center – this number will always be remembered because he was the first American Football League (AFL) player to use it (The Houston Oilers’ WR Ken Burrough was the other). Otto played his entire professional career in Oakland, California. Otto was a nine time AFL All Star and three time Pro Bowl selection. He never missed a game in 15 years wearing the Black and Silver. Otto never won a Super Bowl but he was in five AFL/AFC Championship games. Nobody in Silver and Black has ever donned this number again.

2- Marquette King – Punter- The Raider legacy continues with HBCU Historically Black Colleges and Universities players, as King came on the field in Napa Valley undrafted from Fort Valley State University. King repeated the mold of Black and Silver kickers, pinning opponents inside the 10 yard line frequently. Number two hit a record 72 yard punt and set a single season league record for punts with 109. New head coach Jon Gruden did not like King’s work ethic and sent him to the Mile High City, Denver.

2- JaMarcus Russell – Quarterback- The LSU Tiger All American was the most misunderstood quarterback the Raiders ever had. Oakland drafted him as number 1 in the first round. Russell needed a team buddy coming from the deep-south and felt alone in Oakland. New head coach Lane Kiffin did not know how to use Russell’s body size, speed, and arm strength. Two years later he was released by Oakland under another head coach Tom Cable with four quarterbacks in spring training.

3 – Darryl Lamonica – Quarterback- “The Mad Bomber”. Lamonica implemented the Al Davis stretch offense with long down field passing to Warren Wells. Lamonica lead the Raiders to their first Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl II. Rick Mirer wore this number in 2003 Mirer was nowhere near the status of “The Mad Bomber”. Nobody should ever wear number 3 again.

5- Kerry Collins – Quarterback- In 2004 Collins was the backup for Rich Gannon after being released by the New York Football Giants. He took over the starting position after Gannon’s retirement in 2005. It did not last long after the 34-10 beat down in week 12 by the San Diego Chargers.

6- Marc Wilson – The quarterback everybody wants to forget. The 1980 draft choice would be the backup to Jim Plunkett and the Super Bowl Champion in his early years in Oakland. Wilson would lead the Black and Silver to the 1985 Western Division Championship. It was not enough and Wilson was shipped to New England.

7- Dan Pastorini- Quarterback- Houston Oiler owner Bud Adams traded Pastorini for the elder Ken Stabler in 1980. The Raiders had a very unimpressionable pre season when Pastorini was named the starter over backup Jim Plunkett.

In the fifth game of the season the Raiders were going nowhere fast with a 500 record. This was the one game of the year attending; Pastorini broke his leg in the second quarter. It was as if time stood still for a moment. The Coliseum crowd started cheering because they wanted to see Plunkett play. Everybody forgot Pastorini after Plunkett guided the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles

8 – Ray Guy- Punter- Guy was the first punter to be drafted in the first round 1973. Al Davis knew what he was getting because Guy could pin an opponent inside their own ten yard line 75 % of the time or he could kick the ball out of bounds, what they called “the coffin corner”, so nobody could return it. This gave the Raiders the defensive advantage. Ray Guy perfected the position and now current punters in the NFL copy his style. Marc Wilson wore the number in the late 80’s early 90’s but never lived up to the standards of Ray Guy. Al Davis insisted that Marc Wilson would come around and become a great Raider quarterback. It never happened. This number should be retired.

8- Marques Tuiasosopo-Quarterback- The invisible man in Black and Silver. The second round draft choice from the University of Washington in 2001 had tuff competition with Michael Vick, Drew Brees, and Quincy Carter. He had to sit and wait in Oakland behind Rich Gannon and Kerry Collins. With the Raiders struggling on the field he had little time to make impressions on the coaching staff. Raider magic occurred again on Monday Night as he threw for 224 yards in one half.

Tuiasosopo would move on to the New York Jets retiring in 2008. He now works at the University of California Berkeley as a quarterback coach.

9 – Shane Lechler- Punter-This young man was on pace to break all of Ray Guy’s records. Once again, Al Davis beat out the other owners by drafting Lechler. His legacy is still being made. Drafted in 2000, he played in 9 Pro Bowl and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team. Lechler has the record for the longest punt 80 yards last year. He surpassed the legion Sammy Baugh with a 47.3 yard carrier average.

10- Chris Bahr- Place Kicker- Bahr was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1976.  After a mixed review in the Midwest he was sent west to the Oakland Raiders. His whole family was very athletic so he had to prove that he belonged.

Bahr is the second leading Raider scorer with 817 points and 162 career field goals. His best year was 21983 when he hit over 83% of his field goals.

He would retire in 1989 as a San Diego Charger with 17 field goals and 29 points after touchdowns.

11- Vince Evans- Quarterback- Evans returned to the NFL after a year off and the USFL folding. He would start for the Oakland Raiders being one of the replacement players to stick with the team.

Evans was very critical of the way the NFL treated Black quarterbacks. Black quarterbacks were often judged differently, and were expected to do things on the field that white quarterbacks were not required to do. Evans fit right in with the Raider image with his fight to get equal access for Black quarterbacks.

11- Sebastian Janikowski- Field goal kicker- “Sebass”, set the field goal record tying Tom Dempsey with a 63 yard field goal. Sebass passed George Blanda in Oakland Raider scoring. Lechler and Sebass entered Raider Nation together in 2000. Al Davis continued the motto that kicking wins football games. These two kickers continued to prove Mr. Davis correct. Janikowski was the third kicker to be drafted in the first round. He has an 80% field goal rate. He also has nine more NFL records.

12- Ken Stabler- Quarterback-“The Snake”- Stabler made the Raiders an offensive force with his unorthodox south paw antics on the field. The Snake would get the Raiders Western Titles only to lose to the dreaded Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game. He was on the team that lost to the “Immaculate Reception” in 1973 to Franco Harris as the Steelers moved on to the Super Bowl.; We cannot forget “The Holy Roller” and the “Ghost to the Post” to Dave Casper for Raider touchdown victories. In 1999 Rich Gannon wore the number and that was a dishonor on the Raiders part. Stabler created the 2 min. drill which all NFL teams use today. This number should be in the Raider Hall of Fame.

12- Rich Gannon- Quarterback – was signed as a free agent in 1999 in Jon Gruden’s first head coaching job in Oakland. Gannon fit in well with Gruden’s offense. Gannon’s claim to fame is his record breaking five interceptions in the Super Bowl against Tampa Bay.

15- Tom Flores- Quarterback- A man of many first. He was the first Latino starting quarterback in the old AFL. He became Head Coach and guiding Raiders to two Super Bowls. Flores was the First Latino head coach and the first minority to win a Super Bowl. Also Flores is a coach to win a Super Bowl as an assistant coach and then as a head coach. A feat only matched by Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears.

16- George Blanda (QB/P/PK) Quarterback, Punter, Placekicker stood the test of time playing in four decades. He made Al Davis’s offense work with passing precision the four time AFL All-Star, two time All Pro started the Raiders on their path to glory. In 1970 he took the Raiders on a five game winning streak kicking five game winning field goals at age 40. In 1981 Blanda went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

16- Jim Plunkett- Quarterback- The Stanford graduate and Heisman Trophy winner had a rough beginning in his professional career. Plunkett took the mantle of number 16 and did what Al Davis wanted him to do, honor the number 16. This player is one of my hero’s drafted by the New England Patriots in 1971 leading the lead in sacks for two years straight and just surviving before coming to Oakland. Plunkett would finally get an offensive line to protect him. Plunkett guided the Raiders to two Super Bowl victories. The son of two disabled parents continues to contribute to the Oakland-Bay Area Disabled Communities with charity work. Andrew Walter wore this jersey in 2003. Nobody should ever wear this jersey again. Next question, why is this man not in Pro Football’s Hall of Fame?

16- Andrew Walter- Quarterback- Walter did not stay in Oakland too long, three years as a back up to the backup of Kerry Collins and Marques Tuiasosopo. He started two games in 2006 and played like a rookie with two fumbled snaps and an interception. The next season the Raiders drafted JaMarcus Russell and released in 2009 with a 52.3 completion record. Number 16 should not be worn again.

19 – Cotton Davidson – Quarterback- The Baylor graduate was the first round pick of the NFL Baltimore Colts in 1954. Davidson made history as the first quarterback of the new AFL Dallas Texan in 1960 but was traded to Oakland after the Texans signed Len Dawson in 1962. The famous trade sent future Hall of Fame linebacker Buck Buchanan to the Dallas Texans-Kansas City Chiefs. Now just imagine Buchanan in a Black and Silver uniform, the Chiefs would have never gone to the Super Bowl.

21-Charlie Smith- Running Back- was the key player in the Heidi Bowl game scoring the winning touchdown against the New York Jets. At the start of the fourth quarter the Jets were leading by 17 points with only 3 mins. left in the game. The Raiders made a remarkable comeback which most of the nation did not see because NBC-TV switched to Walt Disney’s Sunday Night show which was the story of Heidi. Smith played for the Raiders eight years rushing for over 1,500 yards.

21- Cliff Branch- Wide Receiver- fits the mold of Al Davis’s philosophy of stretching the defenses with long down field pass patterns. Branch was the perfect player with speed and grace. Branch has the record for the longest pass in Raider history 99 yards. He is one of three Raiders to be a member of all three Super Bowl victorious Teams. The last player to wear this number is current Philadelphia Eagle Nnamdi Asomugha cornerback defensive safety.

21- Nuamdi Asomugha- Cornerback- The first round draft pick out of the University of California at Berkeley. It was a pleasure watching this young man play football for the Golden Bears in Strawberry Canyon. He was very proud of his Nigerian heritage and told everyone. Asomugha had the second highest interception ratio in NFL history with teammate Charles Woodson. Living up to the Title Shutdown Corner

22- Mike Haynes- Cornerback- was named Rookie of the Year in 1976 and a 9 time Pro Bowler drafted by the New England Patriots. Haynes gave the Pats the first ever touchdown on punt returns, which he did twice that year.  Haynes played out his option with New England 1982 traveling to Los Angeles to join the Black and Silver in 1983. He teamed up with Cornerback Lester Hayes and they became the most feared men in the secondary on defense.

22- Arthur Whittington- Running Back- Whittington made his fame running back punts and kick offs giving the Raiders that jump start for their offense scoring 16 touchdowns in Oakland averaging 25 yards a return. His rookie year he rushed for 661 yards with seven touchdowns

He would return to Oakland after a year in Buffalo playing for the Invaders of the USFL

23- Charlie Smith- Running Back- Smith was drafted by the Raiders in the fourth round in 1968. He was a Bay Area resident as he attendant Castlemont High School, Oakland, California. Smith will always be linked to the Heidi Bowl Game as he caught the winning touchdown with time running out. Very few football fans saw the score because NBC switched to Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color and the Heidi Movie at 7pm Eastern Time.

23- Roger Bird-Safety- Punt Returner- in the middle 60’s Bird was always in the top ten in punt returns giving the Raiders the needed start to the quick striking offenses. Bird was one of the last players to play both sides of the ball, defense, and offense.

24- Willie Brown- Cornerback- The godfather of the defense from HBCU-Grambling State University was drafted by the Houston Oilers and cut. This just fueled his ambition to play professional football. Brown did not quit and signed with the Denver Broncos in 1963. Brown still holds the team record for interceptions with 39 in a single season and also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Most Raiders fans will remember Willie running down the sidelines after he intercepted a Fran Tarkenton pass in Super Bowl XI while looking back to see if anybody would catch him before entering the end zone for a 75 yard Oakland Raider Touchdown.

24-Charles Woodson- Cornerback- The 1998 fourth overall draft from that school up north, The University of Michigan in his first year he was NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and solidified the Raider defense at the turn of the century. Woodson was involved in the 2002 Tuck Rule Game with a sack of New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady with the game winding down and a Raider lead. The Raiders lost that game in overtime and seem to lose that fighting spirit of the Old Oakland Raiders.

Raider Nation is waiting for Mr. Woodson to walk into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio one day.

24- Marshawn Lynch-Running Back- Another University of California at Berkeley Golden Bear. Lynch was drafted by the Buffalo Bills before moving on to Seattle and two Super Bowls appearances. The Seattle Seahawk superstar running back came home to Oakland to end his career as a tribute to all Oakland Raider fans all over America. Raider Nation loved Beast Mode retiring in Silver and Black.

Lynch always told you what he was thinking and made fun of the NFL media day at the Super Bowl stating “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” He always defended his teammates in Seattle or Oakland. He will always be a part of Raider Nation being the 31st player in the league to rush for 10, 000 yards.

25- Fred Biletnikoff- Wide Receiver- the best tight rope artist to ever wear the Silver and Black. He would drive a defender down the field then make a left or right turn and the ball would be in his hands. Freddie would step out of bounds for a first down and there was nothing the defender could do but watch. This number has been worn many times the last two were Charlie Garner and Justin Fargas.

28-Clarence Davis- Running Back- In the Raider first Super Bowl victory against the Minnesota Vikings there was an AFC playoff game before and Davis was in the middle of it all. Davis caught the ball in the 4th quarter in what they call “The Sea of Hands” catch. Clarence Davis would out wrestled two Miami Dolphins defenders for a Raiders touchdown and a trip to the Super Bowl. Davis helped the team earn the record for most rushing yards in a Super Bowl with 429 yards.

30- Mark Van Eeghan- Running back- the powerhouse runner for the Black and Silver from 1974-1981. The broad shouldered running back could power through lines and became the model for future running backs. Van Eeghan was an excellent blocker on sweep plays and ran for over 1,000 yards three years in a row. This number has been worn many more times.

32- Marcus Allen- Running Back many call him “Mr. Raider”, even though he ended his career with the hated AFC West revile Kansas City Chiefs. Allen was the best running back in short yardage goal line situations because he knew how to squeeze through a hole.

This could be called Al Davis biggest mistake letting Allen go in their own division as the Chiefs lost only one game against the Raiders when Allen played in Kansas City.

32- Jack Tatum – Safety- This was my favorite Raider because he put fear in receiver’s eyes every play down field. They knew that if they caught the ball in the middle of the field Jack Tatum would not be far behind to put their behind on the ground. The Darryl Stingley pre-season hit and injury in 1978 clouded Tatum’s fine career in Oakland. The fierce but clean Tatum hits would be fined today by Commissioner Goodell.

34- Bo Jackson- Running Back- Bo knows football. Every Raider fan remembers the Monday Night game when he ran over Seattle’s linebacker Brian Bosworth for a Raider touchdown. His professional career did not start off well with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signing him in 1986. The Bucs wanted him to choose between baseball or football. Bo signed with the Kansas City Royals. In 1987 the Bucs forfeited their rights to Jackson and Al Davis saw the opportunity to sign Jackson. Davis knew that Bo loved baseball and signed a contract that would let him do so. Jackson still holds the Monday Night Football rushing record with 221 yards. This number should never be worn again.

35- Hewritt Dixon-Fullback-was born a generation too soon. Drafted out of FAMU another HBCU graduated by the Denver Broncos in 1963. Dixon languished on the bench for three years; partly because of the great Canadian star Cookie Gilchrist. When traded to Oakland, Dixon showed in his pass – catching and running ability the combination of hands and power that would have made Roger Craig envious. He averaged four yards a carry over seven seasons and an almost even split of 6000 total yards (3100 rushing, 2800 receiving). His size at 6’1”, 230 pounds not only made Dixon a legitimate power back from that era (4 Pro Bowls and one first team All-Pro) but a true East Coast offensive back (the so – called ‘West Coast’ offense was first deployed by Allie Sherman’s New York Giant teams of the mid-1960s)

36- Clem Daniels-Fullback-is another shining example of the untapped reservoir of endless talent which poured from the HBCUs, a graduate of Prairie View A&M. One of the most dominant backs in the AFL, Daniels could not strut his stuff right away, having to sit behind the great Abner Haynes on the Dallas Texans/K.C. Chiefs depth chart after coming in as an undrafted free agent in 1960.

But a trade to the Oakland Raiders was heaven sent. Al Davis knew what he was looking for. Daniels was a complete back: speed, hands, blocking, toughness and intelligence. He became a five – time consecutive all League tailback (1963 – 67) and an AFL co – Most Valuable Player in 1963. Daniels left the League before the merger but his impact was felt by every opponent in the AFL and NFL. Daniels averaged 4.5 yards a carry and 5,138 career rushing yards, in addition to over 3300 yards on 204 receptions. Daniels enters the Hall of Fame still an unknown soldier for the Black and Silver

37- Lester Hayes- Cornerback- Lester “the Molester” Hayes was a five time Pro Bowler. That endearing name would not work today because of the legal difficulties at Penn State University, Syracuse University and Michigan State; The moniker stuck because of the way Hayes stayed with his receiver, hands all over the opponent’s uniform. Hayes had to overcome his disabilities to play the game. Lester could finally speak in public without stuttering at the end of his career.  Hayes made stickum famous with the yellow gooey stuff running down his legs every game. The NFL finally outlawed the use of stickum.

40- Pete Banaszak-Fullback- was the Oakland Raiders version of the Human bowling ball. Banaszak took over for Clem Daniels in 1967 and became the sixth all team leading rusher. Pete will always be linked to the Holy Roller as he pushed the ball into the end zone.

43- George Atkinson- Safety- The first great Raider safety and part of the 11 Angry Men. He wrecked many opponents offense. Atkinson is the 5th All Time leading interceptor. Coach Chuck Noll of the Pittsburgh Steelers called Atkinson the criminal element of football at the same time teaching the Steelers to play the same way.

44- Marv Hubbard- Running Back- Hubbard was one of the first stars to come from the Ivy League, Colgate University. Drafted in 1968 by the Denver Broncos became the bull of the Raiders running attack on their first Super Bowl team. Oakland used the 1968 Common Draft rule. Hubbard played for the Broncos in 68 too but the rule made him sign the Hartford Knights of the Atlantic Coast League. Nobody took Ivy League football players seriously; Hubbard changed that with 4,000 career yards and 23 touchdowns.

45- Dave Grayson- Defensive Back- The undrafted star from the University of Oregon would steal your lunch if you left it in the air. Grayson would start the tradition of great defensive backs with his quick speed. He was also known for a trade with Kansas City and Fred “The Hammer” Williamson in 1965.

Grayson went into the record books early in his career with a 99 yard interception against the New York Titans (Jets) in 1961. The six time all-star should be in the Hall of Fame with 47 interceptions in the old AFL.

45- Nemiah Wilson- Defensive Back- Wilson had a very short career in football but made the best of it. The HBCU graduated from Grambling State University did not go far from home. Growing up in Baton Rouge was great for his family because they could watch him play.

Wilson intercepted 19 passes for 213 yards and returned 4 kickoffs for touchdowns. Number 48 ended his career with the Chicago Bears 1974-75

46- Todd Christensen- Tight End- is now a broadcaster on the Mountain West Sports Network after many years of a great football career. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1978 after a college stint at BYU. He was cut after he broke a foot in preseason and released. The New York Football Giants converted him to the tight end position and his career rocked. He became a star wearing the Black and Silver in 1979.

In his career, Christensen caught 461 passes for 5,872 yards and 41 touchdowns. In eight postseason games, he caught 31 balls for 358 yards and only one touchdown. He led the league in receptions twice, and had 349 receptions from 1983-86. This happens to be an NFL record.

49- Mike Siani- Wide Receiver- Siani was the first round draft choice from Villanova in 1972. He would be runner-up to The Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris from Penn State for Rookie of the Year. When the Raiders played the Steelers it became personal for Siani and Harris, it was New York vs. New Jersey, it was Penn State vs. Villanova.

50- Dave Dalby-Center- the three letter athlete continued the tradition at center. Following Jim Otto’s footsteps of not missing a game in 14 years at that time Dalby was the second Raider center in history. He would lead them into the glory years of the Raider organization-3 Super Bowls.

52- Khalil Mack- Linebacker- The 2014 fifth round draft choice by the Oakland Raiders seem to fit into the old smash mouth Black and Silver football. The Raider defense rallied around Mack in his Lawrence Taylor style. Mack was Defensive Rookie of the Year by many different sports venues. He was an equal opportunity offensive disrupter and an All Star. Mack single handedly beat the Carolina Panthers with an interception, a sack, a forced fumble, and a defensive touchdown what is amazing is that he did it again in Chicago with the Bears two years later.

New head coach Jon Gruden wanted to reshape the Oakland Raiders. Mack was shipped to Chicago where the Bears make the playoffs and another all star year.

Mack will always be an Oakland Raider because of his style on the field.

53- Rod Martin- Linebacker- Martin’s greatest moment was when he played in The Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles and intercepting three Ron Jaworski passes and a Raider Super Bowl victory.

55- Matt Millen-Linebacker- Drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1980 another player from Linebacker University, Penn State. He was part of the Los Angeles Raider team that dismantled the Washington Football Club in Super Bowl XV. He earned rings with other teams the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Football Club. Matt would become an executive with the Detroit Lions and is now a broadcaster on the NFL Network.

60- Otis Sistrunk- Defensive Lineman- From the University of Mars or at least that’s what it states on his biography. This was misinterpreted by Monday Night broadcaster Alex Karras for the acronym of United States Marine Corps.

Sistrunk is one of the few players that never played a single down in college football. He became a very important part of the Raiders first Super Bowl team.

62- Reggie Kinlaw- Tackle- Kiknlaw is part of the Raiders Super Bowl teams of the 80’s. It would often take two men to stop him from attacking and sacking the quarterback. Kinlaw often use the spin move to avoid being blocked. Number 62 was in the face of many quarterbacks during his playing days. This number should never be worn again.

63- Gene Upshaw-Guard- called “Highway 63” because Raider traffic would always go that way. Upshaw is one of the best offensive guards the game has ever seen. When the Raiders ran a play on his side it was like a sea of black moving forward for a Raider first down. Upshaw became leader of the players union and negotiated benefits for disabled players with the help of New England Patriot Darryl Stingley. Many believe Upshaw could have done more for retired players.

70- Henry Lawrence- Tackle- All roads led through number 70 as the Raiders won three Super Bowls. Lawrence was the bridge between the Oakland Raiders and the Los Ang. Raiders. The first round pick from Florida A&M University continued the commitment to HBCU players by the AFL. My fellow Alpha Phi Alpha Brother was the recipient of the Jessie Owens Achievement Award for athletic excellence

72- Dave Mosebar- Center- continues the Raider run of great centers. Mosebar took over for Dalby in 1985 and retired in 1995.The Raiders have had only three centers in club history. The Raiders seem to keep molding great centers.

72- Lincoln Kennedy- After three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons the Oakland Raiders could see his potential when the Falcons gave up on him. Kennedy proved once again that Al Davis knew football and gave him number 72 and told him to go make him proud. Lincoln proved to be an integral part of the Raider Super Bowl Run in 2002. Kennedy was also a three time Pro Bowler.

72- John Matuszak- number 72 would be used three times with three definite superstars. “Tooz”, rounded out the three, playing with reckless abandon giving them Black and Silver sparks on defense. Offense linemen made sure Tooz would be covered before the snap of the ball.

74- Tom Keating – Defensive Tackle – Keating grew up in the Mid-west and wanted to play in the area. He attendant that school to the north the University of Michigan.

Keating was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the fourth round in 1964 playing only a year as a backup. He wanted to start and would get his chance in Oakland with a mean front four of Birdwell, Lassiter, and Ben Davidson. That combination created 67 sacks in one year.

75- Howie Long- Defensive Lineman- it was very strange to watch a player’s son play in the NFL as his oldest Chris Long suited up for the Saint Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles. His middle son is still playing for the Chicago Bears. His youngest, Howie Jr. is wearing Silver and Black in the front office in Oakland. It also states that you’re getting old too. Long was with the Super Bowl group in Los Angeles, Their fourth title. The eight time Pro Bowler and entered the Hall of Fame in 2000.

76- Steve Wisniewski-Guard- a member of the 1986 national champion Penn State University Nittany Lions. “Wiz”, was an outstanding guard and fortified the Raider offensive line in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He is now one of the offense coordinators for the Raiders

77- Lyle Alzado- Linebacker- Like many other famous Raiders, Alzado came from another rival team the Denver Broncos via the Cleveland Browns. Alzado fit right into the Black and Silver fold and became the Comeback Player of the Year. Alzado became a focal point on the issue of steroid use in the NFL when he passed away in 1992 of brain cancer. (#77 was also worn by Ike Lassiter – one of the Original 11 Angry Men)

77- Ike Lassiter- Linemen- Member of the famous 11 Angry Men. Ike was another HBCU graduate drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1962 from St. Augustine College and started at defensive end in Super Bowl II. Lassiter would be near the top of the AFL in sacks and pushed the offense back 665 yards one year a record.

78- Art Shell-Tackle- was not only one of the best tackles in the league, he was the National Football League (NFL) First Black coach (Oakland) and that alone should give the Raiders incentive to retire this number. Another HBCU star from Maryland Eastern Shore, an eight time pro bowler and three time Super Bowl Champion and was named, Coach of the Year in 1990.

79- Harry Schuh- Tackle- Schuh was drafted in the first round the third person in 1965 behind Joe Namath and Larry Elkins. Schuh played in three East -West AFL All Star Games

81- Warren Wells – Wide Receiver- drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1964. Warren spent two years in the armed services before the Black and Silver picked him up in 1967. He was the first great Oakland Raider wide out an HBCU Graduate from Texas Southern. Wells set the standard everybody else would follow. Wells started stretching offenses long before anybody else knew what they were doing. The Daryle Lamonica – Wells connection produced many Raider touchdowns. Warren led the league in receiving for three years in a row.

81 Tim Brown- Wide Receiver- how can you deny this Hall of Fame receiver, enough said? The Notre Dame graduate and Heisman Trophy winner continued the tradition of number 81. Al Davis got this one right by drafting him in 1988 and giving him Wells number. He was an intricate part of the Super Bowl Los Angeles team. Brown was a nine time pro bowler and created havoc on opposing defenses.

82- James Jett- Wide Receiver- Jett was one of the fastest Raiders and played opposite of Tim Brown making it very difficult for defenses to defend both of them. James Jett finished his career with 256 receptions for 4,417 yards and 30 touchdowns, a 17.3 yard per reception average. Jett finished his career as the 8th-leading receiver in Oakland Raiders team history.

83- Ben Davidson- Defensive End- drafted by the NFL Green Bay Packers in 1961 before moving on to the Washington Football Club in 1962-63. The NFL thought he was too small to play a defensive line. The Oakland Raiders did not think so and Davidson became part of The 11 Angry Men club and the rock of the old American Football League. Davidson was an AFL All star for seven years and 1970 cemented the rivalry with the Kansas City Chiefs. The now famous fight with Chiefs wide receiver Otis Taylor gave Oakland the AFL Western crown by one game and knocked Kansas City out of the playoffs. It’s been a war ever since.

83- Ted Hendricks- Defensive Lineman- “The Mad Stork”, Al Davis was crafty giving the number 83 to Hendricks and Ted of course made it right. Hendricks from the Baltimore Colts came to the Green Bay Packers improving their defense. Hendricks would then travel to the new World Football League before joining the Oakland Raiders with fire in his eyes wanting a championship; he did just that and retired after Super Bowl XVIII. Hendricks would also enter the Hall of Fame in 1990.

84- Art Powell- Wide Receiver- Powell played north of the boarder his first two years of professional football with Montreal and Toronto. This is where he learned how to outwit defensive backs flying down the field. He was the AFL’s first receiving stars and lead the lead in receiving yards his first three years in the AFL. He is only behind Don Maynard and Lance Alworth in all time yards gain in AFL.

Playing with Don Maynard of the New York Titans (Jets) also help as the two lead the league with over 1,000 receiving yards in 1960 and 62.

He lead the charge in the protest against his old team refusing to play in Mobile’s Ladd Stadium in a pre season Raider- Jets game because of segregated seating at the stadium

85-Carleton Oats-Defensive Lineman- The HBCU graduate from Florida A&M University perfected a new tactic. He would get to the quarterback by jumping over linemen. Oats would play in the first three Raider AFL Championship games before retiring with the Green Bay Packers

87- Dave Casper- Tight End- “The Ghost”, is one the best tight ends in Raider history. The Ghost will never be forgotten and the players that have worn this number never seem to come close to Casper’s flair for the game. Radio broadcasters would frequently say another pass to The Ghost to the post for another Raider touchdown.

88- Raymond Chester – Tight End- Chester was present for the first Raider Super Bowl and returned to Oakland after a stint in Baltimore. Upon his return Casper and Chester made the best one – two punch at that position. Other teams tried to emulate the Oakland Raider system but none have succeeded.

91- Chester McGlockton- Defensive Lineman – Has the record for starting every game which is very difficult for linemen with leg injuries. McGlockton thrived in the Oakland defensive system. He was a four time Pro Bowl selection and three time All Pro selection. McGlockton helped Stanford head coach David Shaw make the Cardinal defense the best it could be in 2010.

96- Darren Russell- Defensive Tackle- Was known as the Silver and Black sack machine with the average of 10 per year. Many teams double teamed him to keep him away from their quarterback. Although his stint was short in Oakland 1997-2001 he had a massive impact on the defense. Russell was a two time Pro Bowler and All Pro.

99- Sean Jones- Defensive Tackle- Jones played for the Los Angeles Raiders as the second round 51st pick from Kingston, Jamaica. Loved to hear him in interviews after games and we both have the same birthday so you know he looked good in Silver and Black.

Jones was one the best sackers in Raider history. Jones wanted the record in 1986 he had a career high of 15.5 sacks and 74 tackles. The Oakland organization traded him for some unknown reason when he was just short of breaking records in the Bay.

He moved on to Houston and then ending his career with the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers with fellow All Star linemen Reggie White. This number has been worn by other players and should be retired; Winston Moss- another great linebacker and now coaches the Green Bay Packers and Warren Sapp from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also wore number 99.

As the Oakland Raiders move south (Las Vegas) for a second time the question will be what to do with these great players numbers? Will there be a Black and Silver Wall of Fame like other teams have done or will they stick to the Al Davis philosophy of team first.

Raider Nation must not be forgotten.

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email glcgray@gmail.com

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

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