John Madden spoke recently with on XX Sports Sports Radio in San Diego on the passing of Al Davis.
"I was in shock," Madden said. "I had been with Al Davis since I left San Diego State, as a matter of fact, in the 1960s. I'd been with him directly or indirectly all those years, for six decades. He was a bigger part of my life than anybody outside of family and my best friend...It's Al Davis. Al Davis doesn't die."
Davis gave Madden his first NFL opportunity and made him the youngest coach in league history when he promoted him from linebackers coach in 1969 at the age of 32. Madden rewarded Davis with a title in 1976.
The news of Davis' death is still sinking in for Madden. His usual phone conversations with Davis on football and life had become so routine that when he didn't talk to him Friday, that wasn't sign that his friend would be gone soon.
"That's why I was in such shock," Madden said, "because I called him on Friday night. I didn't talk to him but I called him, and that was just before he died. And that's the shock of the whole thing. You know that he's not doing well but he's still Al Davis. He's just not going to die, he's always going to be there and always be the Raiders. Part of you knows better than that but there's part of you that really thinks so."