Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, whose career in professional football began with a stint as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Chargers in 1960, has died, according to the Raiders' website.
He was 82 years old.
No further details were given, though the website did say a statement will be issued Saturday.
Davis was born in Brockton, Mass., and grew up in Brooklyn. He graduated from Syracuse University and became the offensive line coach at Adelphi, the first of three college coaching stops.
After coaching the line at The Citadel and USC, Davis was named ends/flankers ("receivers") coach for the Chargers in 1960. Two years later, Raiders owner F. Wayne Valley hired Davis to be the team's head coach and general manager.
Although Davis was stereotyped late in life as an eccentric, he should be remembered in the select company of coaches such as Don Coryell and Sid Gillman as one of the innovators of the vertical passing game. He also helped remake the landscape of professional football as commissioner of the AFL by aggressively challenging the NFL for top college talent.
Davis returned to the Raiders as a general partner and head of football operations in 1966 before assuming principal ownership in 1972.
Earlier this season, Patriots coach Bill Belichick reflected on an interview he had with Davis for the Raiders' head coaching job in 1998.
"It was good because we talked a lot about football," Belichick said. "He's very, very knowledgeable about the game, personnel, schemes, adjustments and so forth."
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