Oakland Raiders: JFK Remembered
November, 21, 2013
By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com
Bernstein Associates/Getty ImagesTom Flores, former Raiders QB and coach, remembers being at practice when hearing the news.The former Oakland Raiders quarterback and Super Bowl-winning coach reflects on the 50-year anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy:
"No question, I remember it vividly. It was a Friday morning and we were at a public park in Berkeley working out. That's where we practiced when Al [Davis] first came to us, a public park, and it was kind of our area in the park but people were looking through the fence and all over the place. It was interesting. The facilities were nothing; they were just sparse. Spartan at best. That was his first year with us [as our head coach]. We had a game in two days against the Denver Broncos, in Denver. So we would have been traveling the next day.
"So it was going to be a light practice, just walking through things, special teams, things like that. Then, just before practice was to begin, Al came out and you could see there was something wrong with him. He knew before we did, obviously. Visibly, he was shaken. It was so raw when he gathered us and told us what happened. We were just shocked. And he said, 'I don’t know about you guys, but I won't be there [at the game] on Sunday.'
"And then later that day, they called off the weekend games, all the AFL games, Joe Foss [AFL commissioner] did. So a bunch of us, since we were off until Monday, we just got together that night with our wives. It was a very somber thing and we went to different places just to be with other people. My wife and I went to church. They had a special mass on Saturday for John, for the President and we were shocked. I mean, this was a big thing in our lives.
"And then, that Sunday, we came back as a team and afterwards, obviously, it was tough getting adjusted after what had just happened, but life went on after that. Still, that was a pretty traumatic weekend. I didn't even turn on the TV. I didn’t watch the NFL at all. They were playing, not me. It wasn’t important."
Flores, 76, as told to ESPN.com Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez