Players, coaches and executives from around the NFL reacted to the Saturday passing of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis.
*Patriots owner Robert Kraft *"We shared a bond as two Massachusetts natives in the NFL, something that he pointed out to me in that initial introduction. I feel fortunate to have spent time with him just last Sunday before our game against the Raiders. Not knowing when I would see him again, I told him how much I appreciated all he had done for the game of football and thanked him for all that he had done for me. He informed me of the Raiders' plans to honor my sweetheart with a moment of silence before our game, which was a touching and heartfelt gesture. Little did I know that just one week later, we would be doing the same in his honor. It's very sad."
*Cowboys owner Jerry Jones *"In my eyes, so much of his legacy will be defined by the loyalty he had for the men who played for the Raiders and the love that they had for him. That was a bond that extended beyond the playing years and lasted lifetimes. His contributions and expertise were inspiring at every level--coach, general manager, owner and commissioner. There was no element of the game of professional football for which Al did not enjoy a thorough and complete level of knowledge and passion. He welcomed me and my family to the NFL 23 years ago and was a trusted friend for all of our time in professional football. We will miss him deeply and we are thinking of Mark and Carol at this difficult time."
*Saints owner Tom Benson *"Al Davis was one of the most innovative and dynamic pioneers in the history of the National Football League. He was passionate about his team and about the game of professional football and he personified the legacy of the Raiders. We share with his family and friends our heartfelt sympathy on the news of his passing."
*Saints coach Sean Payton *"Mr. Davis was a pioneer in our league and a visionary in its development. His contributions still remain a major part of our game today. Even though I never coached for him, I did have the honor of spending time with him on a number of occasions talking football. I think we should all consider ourselves thankful to him for the impact he has had on the game. He was uniquely passionate about Raider football and he will be missed. Our condolences go out to him and his family."
*Patriots coach Bill Belichick *"While I am saddened by the news of Mr. Davis' passing, I will forever be heartened and enriched by the many personal interactions I had with him over the years. His winning, his football knowledge, his passion for his team and contributions to the league made him one of the all-time greats. By striving for the highest level of excellence with our respective teams and the game itself, we will be honoring the memory of Al Davis."
*NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith *"We are very sorry to hear about the loss of Al Davis. Al Davis was a great leader who helped develop the game we enjoy today. His vision and leadership helped merge the AFL-NFL into the greatest sport in North America. He was a fearless fighter and tireless worker toward making the game of football better for all to enjoy. To all of Raider Nation, the Oakland Raider organization and to his family, we mourn your loss."
*Broncos owner Pat Bowlen *"During my 28 years with the Broncos, I came to know Al Davis as one of the most influential and innovative people in the history of the National Football League. His competitive spirit and intensity grew our rivalry with the Raiders into one of the fiercest in all of sports. I respected Al for what he meant to the NFL. He was a visionary who defined the Raiders and had an enormous responsibility for the prosperity of this league. I join Al's family, the Oakland Raiders and the rest of the NFL in mourning the loss of a man who gave so much to the game we love."
*Eagles and former Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (via the Eagles' official website) *"His name would be the first that you hear. He has done so much for the game and obviously given so many people opportunities that, before him, those opportunities weren't there. Obviously, I'm one of those people. He took a chance on me and not too many other people were doing it. Throughout my career, he was a great advisor and a great coach for me and a great owner, so it's tough."
*Niners owner and co-chairman John York *"The Bay Area and NFL communities have lost a true pioneer in Al Davis. The significant contributions that he made to the game of football at every level spoke volumes about his commitment to excellence. We enjoyed working with Al at the league level on the development and growth of our game, and at the team level we appreciated the competition between the 49ers and his Raiders. Al Davis commanded great respect from those he worked alongside and all he competed against."
*Former Jets quarterback Joe Namath *"Thank you Mr. Davis for always being you - the Brooklyn kid, the maverick...the guy that DIDN'T want the merger. You were one of a kind. Al Davis is a football legend to me, and forever will be. He was hugely responsible for the success of the AFL and ultimately today's game."
*USC and former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin *"Mr. Davis was football. He changed the NFL, (with) the merger, and the way football was run back then more than anyone ever has. He gave so many people, including myself at a young age, or minorities, great opportunities. He was very loyal to his players, and he'll be missed. He should be remembered as probably the single person who changed the NFL more than anyone else ever has or ever will."
*Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt *"From the earliest days of the AFL, Al's love for the game and fierce loyalty to his franchise contributed to the success and popularity of pro football. His competitive spirit helped develop the great rivalry our team and fans enjoy today with the Oakland Raiders. His contributions to the game played an important role in building the strong foundation the NFL enjoys today."
*Colts owner Jim Irsay *"Our condolences go out to the Davis family. Al Davis has long been a pillar of professional football and a leader of one of our most legendary franchises. His contributions, dedication and foresight changed the game for the better. The league has lost one of its all-time greats."
*Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson *"We'd like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Davis family, Raiders organization and Raiders fans on the loss of Al Davis. Al was a pioneer whose passion was deeply rooted in the game of professional football that he helped to shape at every level. A unique man of conviction, Al had a profound impact on the National Football League as we know it today and will forever be identified with the team he loved so much -- the Raiders."
*Jets assistant and former Raiders coach Bill Callahan *"My sincerest condolences go out to the Davis family, Raiders organization and Raiders fans on the passing of Al Davis, one of the true NFL icons. A visionary who was ahead of the curve in so many ways, Coach Davis had a great grasp of personnel, schemes and strategy. I learned a tremendous amount of football during my six years with his organization. His sole focus and passion in life was the Raiders. He was at practice every day and very aware of what was going on organizationally. He challenged you to be your best and I will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave me as a head coach."
*Bengals president Mike Brown *"Al was a fiery individualist, an important part of pro football -- the AFL and NFL --for almost 50 years. His teams had times of great success, and he was heavily involved both on and off the field. I admired the achievements the Raiders attained under Al. Personally, I was fond of him. He battled with the NFL, and a lot of us wished that had not been where things went, but under all that was a person I respected. It saddens me to hear that he is gone."
*Texans founder, chairman and CEO Bob McNair *"Al Davis was a pioneer in the American Football League and National Football League. He was a dynamic force in merging the National Football League and American Football League. He built a great tradition with the Raiders. We are going to miss his innovative thinking. Our condolences go to his family and the Raiders organization."
*Pro Football Hall of Fame president
and executive director Steve Perry *"Pro football has lost a true giant of the game, a person whose name is synonymous with a 'commitment to excellence.' His contributions to the game and love of his team are well documented. Few have achieved the successes and respect he accomplished in his years as a coach, league commissioner and club owner. His Hall of Fame legacy will live on and always be a major chapter in the pro football story."
*Agent Drew Rosenhaus (via Twitter) *"I was fortunate to have had many discussions with Al Davis and I learned something every time I dealt with him. He was driven & undaunted."