Ben Davidson, the hulking defensive end who starred for the Oakland Raiders in the 1960s before becoming a famous television pitch man, has died. He was 72.
Davidson died Monday night. He was being treated for prostate cancer. Former Raiders coach John Madden first reported Davidson's death Tuesday on KCBS-AM radio in San Francisco.
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area initially reported on Madden's comments Tuesday. The Raiders later confirmed Davidson's death in a release.
"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 told the Associated Press.
"He was just a big, tall, skinny guy that (Al) Davis took a chance with," Flores said. "He was able to rush the passer and worked hard to get bigger and stronger, with the character and personality. He was always that way."
After his playing career, Davidson became a successful actor with roles in films like "M-A-S-H," "Conan the Barbarian" and "Necessary Roughness" and he played himself in Miller Lite ads.
Davidson is survived by his wife, Kathy, and daughters Jan, Dana and Vicki.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.