Pro football pioneer and Tennessee Titans owner K.S. "Bud" Adams Jr. died Monday of natural causes. He was 90. A World War II veteran, Adams co-founded the American Football League, was the first to have his team play home games in an indoor stadium and presided over more wins with his organization (409) than any other current NFL owner.
Throughout the day, people who played for Adams and worked with him shared their memories.
Titans coach Mike Munchak: "It's really hard, because people think he wasn't here so maybe he wasn't an active owner being right here all the time. ... He's here all the time, and you can see him, you can feel him. ... I think he'll always be here. I think we'll always know what the challenge will be and what we want to accomplish here.
"The one thing he doesn't have that we want to get in his memory. That will be our challenge going forward. So yeah, it will be very difficult, because I used to enjoy those conversations, even just talking to him on the phone, on the speaker phone."
St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher: "Mr. Adams gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL, and I'm eternally grateful to him for that. We enjoyed a great deal of success together during my 17 seasons with the organization, and I'll cherish those memories for the rest of my life.
"My respect for Mr. Adams goes well beyond the owner/coach relationship that we shared for many years. He was a pioneer in the football business."
Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt: "When my father Lamar set out to start a new league to rival the NFL in 1959, the first person he went to visit was Bud Adams. Lamar, Bud and the other visionary owners of the American Football League believed that fans across the country would embrace pro football if given the chance, and they were right.
"Although Lamar's Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs and Bud's Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans were natural rivals on the field, Lamar and Bud enjoyed a friendship that spanned five decades and saw the emergence of pro football as America's Game.
"Our family will always appreciate Bud's spirited and enthusiastic support of my father's 'foolish' idea, and we are saddened today by the news of his passing."
Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Jr.: "As original AFL team owners, we all shared a common bond and a deep sense of pride in where we started in 1960 to where the NFL is today and how much our fans enjoy the game of professional football.
"Bud certainly played an important role in the growth and development of our game, and today I am remembering with great fondness all the laughs we shared with the special memories over the years. Through it all, our teams played some of the most memorable games in AFL and NFL history."
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: "I consider Bud one of the founders of the game of professional football because of his role in helping to create the American Football League. Loyalty was always a strong trademark of Bud Adams.
"He turned down an opportunity to place an NFL team in Houston because he had already made a prior commitment to Lamar Hunt and the AFL. Bud was a role model for me. He was a great man and a great Texan. He will be missed and remembered."