On Oct. 8, 2011, I woke up at about 7 a.m. PT to prepare for an early flight to Denver to cover a Broncos-Chargers game.
Then my phone rang.
It was ESPN’s John Clayton. He told me word was spreading that Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis had died at the age of 82. We needed to get it confirmed.
A few minutes later, it was. Then-Oakland executive John Herrera returned a message, telling me that, indeed, Al Davis was gone. Herrera sounded tired and sad. We chatted for a few minutes. I expressed my condolences to him and the franchise.
Then it was time to reflect on one of the most historic figures in sports history. The Denver trip was shelved. My editors wanted me to fully concentrate on this massive story. It was an incredible day as reaction came fast and furious and people around the league reflected on Davis’ life. I’ll always remember that day.
On the one-year anniversary of Davis’ death, all NFL fans -- regardless of their fan allegiances -- should take a moment to remember the unforgettable Al Davis.