The death of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis has shocked the sports world and has left lots of people reflecting on the legacy that he now leaves behind. Following are some quotes from management and coaching staff within the San Francisco 49ers organization.
49ers owner and co-chairman Denise DeBartolo York had this to say about Davis: "I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Al Davis. One of my fondest memories of Al is a dinner we shared many years ago. During that meal, he presented my father with a very special opportunity to purchase the San Francisco 49ers. In recent years, we were pleased to spend time with Al as our guest in the Owners' Suite at Candlestick Park while our two teams met on the field. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends."
Fellow owner and co-chairman John York echoed similar sentiments: "The Bay Area and NFL communities have lost a true pioneer in Al Davis. The significant contributions that he made to the game of football at every level spoke volumes about his commitment to excellence. We enjoyed working with Al at the league level on the development and growth of our game, and at the team level we appreciated the competition between the 49ers and his Raiders. Al Davis commanded great respect from those he worked alongside and all he competed against."
Davis played a critical role in helping the York family purchase the 49ers organization, and he will be remembered for his contributions to the Bay Area at large. He added several dimensions to the 49ers-Raiders rivalry and gained the respect of players and personnel involved on both sides.
49ers general manager Trent Baalke praised the contributions that Davis has made to football: "Anybody who enjoys the game of football owes a tip of the cap to Al Davis. The numerous contributions that Mr. Davis made to the development and growth of the NFL played an integral role in making the game as great as it is today. Although this is a very sad day in the NFL and the Bay Area, it is a great time to reflect on what Mr. Davis has meant to this sport as well as our community."
Davis, who has been active with the Raiders for 38 years, became a central character and notable figure in the NFL landscape. As Baalke stated, his contributions to the game that spanned almost four decades will leave a mark on today's game for a long time.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh summed things up nicely with his statement: "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."
Davis gave a lot to Bay Area football, and he did so while earning the respect of those that he worked with. His most impressive feature might not be his impact on the game by itself, but rather the way he got there and the many people he won over. Davis may be gone, but he will certainly not be forgotten by the many people he touched and for the things he gave to the NFL.