Analyst Howie Long, who played 13 season with the Raiders, on the Hall of Fame owner Al Davis: “Back in 1980 as a senior at Villanova I had missed a couple of games because of, let’s say, an off campus misunderstanding. For some teams I’m sure that might have been a red flag, but for the Raiders and Al Davis, it was less of a concern. Going from Villanova, where there was a priest on every floor, to the Raiders locker room was, needless to say, a culture shock. One thing that became very apparent was that the Raiders’ mindset and the mystique of the football team, was defined by one man, Al Davis.
He was omnipresent and being a Raider was all about one thing – winning. It was something Al Davis was consumed by 24-7 and as a player you knew that there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do to give you the best possible chance to succeed.
You were now part of a team, an organization that was an island onto itself. Putting on that helmet meant something to generations of players and if you weren’t part of it, you were the enemy. In many ways it was the Ellis Island of the NFL, players from schools like Texas A & I, Colgate and Maryland Eastern Shore or players that had been written off as done and yes, some players with a checkered past. But regardless of where you were from or what had happened in your past, once you put on that helmet you were a Raider and the only thing expected of you was to play and to win.
There are many from this generation who will judge Al Davis by the last 10-plus years or by his many legal battles with the league. But what I would want today’s generation to know is that yesterday the NFL lost a titan, a man who more than any other helped shape the league and the game you see played today.
He was an AFL maverick, forcing the NFL-AFL merger as commissioner, a successful owner and coach with the Raiders, winning three Super Bowl titles and an AFL Championship. He was also a pioneer, hiring the league’s first modern era African-American head coach in Art Shell and also the league’s first Latino head coach in Tom Flores.
Yesterday Al Davis lost the one battle he knew he could never win, the battle with time. There’s never been anyone like him and I’m confident in saying there will never be anyone like him in the future.”
Co-host Terry Bradshaw a former Steeler, on some of his encounters with Davis: “When I retired from the Steelers, I went home to my ranch in Louisiana and one day I got a phone call from Al Davis. He asked me about what are you doing, how are you doing? Then, I’ll never forget this; he asks how are you financially? I said well I don’t have any money, don’t have any coming in, and don’t have any coming out. And he said if you ever need anything at all, call me. And I said yes sir, I appreciate that. Can you imagine that?”
Analyst Jimmy Johnson on his friendship with Davis: “I struck up a friendship with Al Davis when I first came into the league. Al would call me late at night and nobody calls me at night. He wanted to talk about the players I recruited or played against. I would get insight from him about the league and just about everything. My wife Rhonda would always look over and say ‘Al?’ And I’d say yeah. And she’d say okay goodnight because she knew it would be an hour phone call. He was so knowledgeable about every aspect of the game and just a very smart man. He touched everybody in this league.”
Analyst Michael Strahan on what his generation should know about Davis: “My generation knows who Al Davis is but I don’t think everyone knows the impact that Al Davis had not just only on the Raiders, but on the NFL. I would like to encourage my generation, younger generations if you don’t know, go out and look up Al Davis. Find out what he did because he was one of the guys who made the game what it is today. We love the product that we have now and Al Davis is a big part of it.”
NFL on FOX Insider Jay Glazer talks to Hall of Famer Barry Sanders about Detroit’s success and his relationship with the Lions: “Because of the Lions success, everybody is reaching out to Barry Sanders and wants to hear from him. He said, look, I want to put a message out. I love the Lions. Every time he talked during our 30-minute conversation, it was ‘we’ whenever he was talking about the team. He said, I’d love to be more a part of the team but I don’t want it to be about me. I don’t want to be a distraction. And, quite frankly, I’m a full-time dad. I’ve got four kids. It’s a really tough job. Even tomorrow night’s game, it’s a school night for Barry Sanders. He said I want them to know I’m there with them, but when the kids get a little older, maybe I can do more.”
Glazer on why Barry Sanders left the game in the prime of his career: “He said every week somebody still brings it up to him. He said the honest fact is I just lost my fire. When you lose 100% commitment, you’ve got to just walk away from the game. He said it wasn’t anything with the Lions, because like I said he loves them.”
Glazer also reported on Terrell Owens’ recent stem cell surgery for a torn ACL and his recovery: “He just had ACL surgery in April. That used to keep you out a year, but it’s unbelievable what I saw. I saw him out here working out with guys like Carson Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and bunch of ex-players. For a guy who just tore his ACL six months ago, there wasn’t a route he couldn’t run. He had the sled on him, it was unbelievable. He said one of the big things for him was his stem cell surgery he had a few weeks ago. He said a few days after he had it he felt a huge difference. T.O. told me he went to Seoul, South Korea for it. He was supposed to take fat out of his belly like they did during Peyton Manning’s procedure, but of course T.O. said he didn’t have any fat in his belly so he said they had to take from his butt. And they take some stem cells, they mix it together and then about 20-30 minutes later, they inject it right into your knee. As a result of that, four weeks later, he’s running routes. He said it was that good.”
Analyst Jimmy Johnson on Tony Romo after his three interceptions last week: “I wouldn’t bench him, but I’d have him study a third year quarterback in this league – Josh Freeman. Josh Freeman is a smart quarterback, he knows how to play situational football and he knows how to protect the lead. He’s come from behind eight different times to win the game. Study Josh Freeman, you’ll learn how to play the game.”
Co-host Terry Bradshaw on Rex Ryan’s press conference antics: “He is getting ready for television. He does stupid stuff like that so that when he gets fired, someone will say ‘wow, he’s a colorful guy.'”
Analyst Michael Strahan added: “If he’s losing, it gets old. If he’s winning, everyone accepts it.”
Analyst Jimmy Johnson on Brett Favre’s comments about Aaron Rodgers: “Yes, he was taking a shot.”
Co-host Terry Bradshaw on what the Eagles need to do to turn around their season: “They press even more on the road and make even more mistakes. Have some fun playing football folks. They’re terrible inside the 20 yard line. But they can turn it all around just with one victory today. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but they can turn it around.”
Analyst Howie Long on the impact of Eagles DE Trent Cole being out about three weeks with a calf injury: “Trent Cole is one of the most underrated players in the entire league, not just in his position. Jason Babin right now leads the NFL in sacks. He’s going to discover the meaning of the word attention. With Trent Cole out of the lineup, people will focus more on him.”
Co-host Terry Bradshaw on which 3-1 first place team will still be around come playoff time: “I don’t think Tampa Bay will make the playoffs, I think San Francisco will. I think with the running game of Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter and coach Jim Harbaugh has totally changed Alex Smith. I think the 49ers win big.”
Analyst Jimmy Johnson on how important tonight’s Atlanta/Green Bay game is to the Falcons’ season: “This could be a demoralizing game for Atlanta. They were 13-3 last season and knocked out of the playoffs by Green Bay, letting them score 48 points. They’ve given up 30 to Chicago, 31 to Philadelphia and 28 to Seattle! A loss tonight could really put them on a downward spiral.”
Analyst Michael Strahan on Green Bay this week: “They are playing like the season never stopped last year, continuing on the same road. At some point, you have to stumble back a little bit and I think this is the week for that.”
Co-host Terry Bradshaw on if Donovan McNabb should be benched in Minnesota for Christian Ponder: “Yes, absolutely. At 0-4, I know it sends a signal to the veterans that they’ve given up on the team, so be it. They’re still veterans, they’ll play hard. But I would make the move. If you don’t make it and let’s say you lose today, you’ve got to make it next week. We’ve got three rookies in Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton and Andy Dalton playing awfully well right now as rookie quarterbacks. Put him in there.”
Analyst Howie Long continues: “We keep waiting for Donovan to snap out of it, that maybe last year was an aberration. The thing that made him dynamic in Philadelphia was his athleticism, his speed, his ability to extend plays. He’s lost a step and because of that, he’s no longer a dynamic player. The things that made him suspect in Philadelphia, his accuracy, it becomes more of a focal point.”
(source; FOX Sports)
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