Legendary Raider Ben Davidson, whose handlebar mustache and gravelly voice were as distinctive as his pass-rushing skills has died of prostate cancer at age 72.
Former Raiders coach John Madden broke the news on KCBS radio Tuesday.
Davidson was considered a giant of the era at 6-foot-8, 270 pounds. He starred as a defensive end in Oakland (1964-1971) after playing his first three professional seasons with Green Bay (1961) and Washington (1962-63).
He was an American Football League All-Star in 1966, 1967, and 1968.
‘He was a tough, gutsy ballplayer, team oriented with enough meanness in him to be feared and enough talent to be effective,” former Raiders teammate Tom Flores said. Flores, who recently played golf with Davidson, got the news while in Las Vegas for a celebration of Davis, who would have turned 83 on Wednesday.
Davidson played in the second Super Bowl for Oakland after the 1967 season and then was on the team that lost the conference title game the next three seasons.
One of Davidson’s most memorable plays came on Nov. 1, 1970, against Kansas City. The Raiders trailed 17-14 late in the fourth quarter when Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson ran for a first down to seemingly seal the win.
As Dawson was on the ground, Davidson dived into him with his helmet. In a rage, Chiefs wide receiver Otis Taylor jumped on Davidson and a brawl ensued.
”Their attitude was, if you’ve got a shot at the quarterback, take it,” Dawson recalled in 2010.