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Jim Otto, Raiders legend Hall of Famer, dead at 86

NFL

Longtime Raiders center Jim Otto has died at age 86, the team announced Sunday evening.

No cause of death was given.

The sturdy Otto, who wore the distinctive “00,” was the center of the Raiders franchise’s first 15 seasons from 1960 to 1974, starting in 210 consecutive games.

“I’ve often looked at being a football player as being a gladiator,” Otto told Bleacher Report in 2009.

“There’s something inside you that says, ‘I want to go out there and prove myself.’ Most of the time you will be injured. This is the life you choose. Some people need challenges in life and play hockey or rugby. Football was the way for me to prove myself.

Longtime Raiders center Jim Otto died Sunday at the age of 86. MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Otto was a nine-time first-team All-AFL member and then a three-time Pro Bowl center after the AFL and NFL merged.

“His skills as a center were just perfect,” the late Raiders Hall of Fame coach John Madden once said. “He was one of those guys who never wanted to leave training. This is the opposite of most newbies, who will say, “Send the second guy.” »

Otto was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility.

The sturdy Otto, who wore the distinctive “00,” was the center of the Raiders franchise’s first 15 seasons from 1960 to 1974, starting in 210 consecutive games. AMERICAN NEWSWIRE
Otto was a nine-time first-team All-AFL member and then a three-time Pro Bowl center after the AFL and NFL merged. AMERICAN NEWSWIRE

“The commitment to excellence, the pride and poise, the greatness of our football team has not only been exemplified by Jim Otto, but for over a decade he has been the standard of excellence by which centers were judged in professional football,” the late Raiders Hall of Famer said. » said owner Al Davis at Otto’s dedication.

Otto underwent more than 70 surgeries and had his right leg amputated in 2007.

“I’m not the type of guy who wants someone to feel sorry for me. I’ll do anything. I will go to war if I have to to live,” Otto said in 2013, adding: “I have done a lot of things since I had my leg amputated. I went to the Arctic Circle. I’ve been to all types of places…I love to hunt.

Otto was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Otto underwent more than 70 surgeries and had his right leg amputated in 2007. MediaNews Group via Getty Images

He is survived by his wife, his son and his 14 grandchildren.

“I saw him bleed,” Raiders linebacker Phil Villapiano said in a 2022 interview. “I mean, every damn game. The helmet he was wearing definitely wasn’t working, as it fell off and smashed his nose. He would bleed every game. And the players on the other team were like, “What the hell is this guy?!” »




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