Friday, October 10, 2003
Updated: December 23, 9:50 AM ET
By Mike Puma
Special to ESPN.com
Jan. 22, 1984 - Before Super Bowl XVIII, Los Angeles Raiders defensive end Lyle Alzado vowed to decapitate Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. While Alzado didn't make good on that promise, he was involved in a pivotal play.
With the Raiders leading 14-3 and 12 seconds remaining before halftime, Theismann attempted a screen pass to running back Joe Washington. Alzado disrupted Washington just enough to allow linebacker Jack Squirek to intercept the pass and return it five yards for a touchdown.
"I guess I pulled [Washington] by the jersey, but I didn't hold onto him," Alzado said. "I was surprised Theismann threw the ball, but he probably figured I couldn't catch it."
The Redskins believed a penalty should have been called. "They normally try to grab me, and Alzado had me," Washington said. "Holding is holding."
After the Raiders' 38-9 victory, television cameras caught Alzado crying on the sidelines.
Odds 'N' Ends
Alzado's second wife, Cindy, tried to run him over with a car.
Alzado had one child, Justin, who was born in 1982. Cindy is the mother.
Justin is credentialed by the National Athletic Trainers Association.
Alzado's nicknames included "Rainbow" and "Three Mile Lyle." The former referred to Alzado's mood swings and the latter to his volcanic temper.
After being cut from the team at Kilgore Junior College in Texas, Alzado said he hitchhiked home.
Alzado, who said he spent 4-6 hours daily in the weight room, went from 195 pounds as a freshman at Yankton to 245 as a sophomore, 280 as a junior and 300 as a senior.
He became the first player drafted from Yankton by the NFL.
His three safeties tie him for second all-time in the NFL.
Alzado had his own radio show with the Broncos.
Alzado said it was a lot easier to get steroids in Los Angeles than anywhere else.
In 1985, he had a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
He once threw a chair at a newspaper reporter and said his only regret was that he missed hitting him.
The Raiders reached the playoffs all four years Alzado played for them.
Alzado loved his tenure with the Raiders so much, he said he wished he never played for Denver or Cleveland.
He sometimes brought homeless people to sleep in his Southern California mansion.
Alzado estimated that at least 75 percent of the players he played with or against used steroids.
Alzado's fourth wife, Kathy, discovered he was on steroids when she found a needle in the garbage can.
In April 1991, soon after learning he had brain cancer, he was arrested for suspicion of battery on a female police officer. An L.A. County deputy marshal serving Alzado court papers at his home said she feared for her safety and maced Alzado.
Alzado disputed the facts of the charge. The case was not pursued and nothing became of it.
He owned a restaurant, "Alzado's," in West Hollywood, Calif. He had planned to open 10 more restaurants in the U.S. and eight in Mexico.
The last movie in which he appeared was the 1992 release Comrades in Arms.
Alzado refuted tabloid reports that he had contracted AIDS, which is often associated with brain cancer. Extensive testing by doctors established that Alzado didn't have AIDS or the virus that causes it.