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NFL pays tribute to Ken Stabler

The NFL community is paying tribute to Kenny Stabler, the former Raider quarterback, national champion and Super Bowl XI winner who died Wednesday of complications from colon cancer. He was 69.

Hall of Fame coach John Madden, who helmed the Raiders during all but one year of Stabler's tenure with the team, spoke of his former quarterback on Thursday night.

"I've often said, If I had one drive to win a game to this day, and I had a quarterback to pick, I would pick Kenny," Madden said in a statement released by the Raiders. "Snake was a lot cooler that I was.  He was a perfect quarterback and a perfect Raider. When you think about the Raiders you think about Ken Stabler.  Kenny loved life.  It is a sad day for all Raiders."

Raiders owner Mark Davis also paid tribute to Stabler, who was wildly popular among Silver and Black fans.

"He was a cherished member of the Raider family and personified what it means to be a Raider," Davis said in a statement released by the team. "He wore the Silver and Black with Pride and Poise and will continue to live in the hearts of Raider fans everywhere."

Stabler remains the Raiders' all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns and yards per attempt. In addition to his 10 years with Oakland, he played two seasons with the Houston Oilers and three with the New Orleans Saints.

Stabler's collegiate career included two national championships as a backup for Bear Bryant's Alabama Crimson Tide, and an undefeated 1966 season as the team's starter. After his NFL career, Stabler returned to Tuscaloosa as a radio voice of the Crimson Tide.

"While there have been many outstanding players in our great football history at Alabama, I think it´s safe to say that few -- if any -- connected with our fans in the way that Kenny did," Alabama athletic director Bill Battle said in a statement. "He was an Alabama man through and through."

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