Nothing else was expected from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones when he heard the news Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis passed away at the age of 82 Saturday morning. Jones released the following statement regarding Davis, the only man involved to the same level with his NFL team as 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,” Jones said. We will miss him deeply and we are thinking of Mark and Carol at this difficult time.”
Before Davis’s death, both he and Jones were the only owners in the NFL to also serve as the general managers for their teams. Jones is now the lone owner of both titles. As an extremely powerful American businessman, Jones was/is close with many big names in the sports world, like Davis and the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
Davis was a very unique individual in the NFL. He served as commissioner of the AFL before the two leagues merged in 1970. He was a Hall of Fame coach of the Raiders before taking ownership of the team. In his later years, Davis was not liked by many of the Raiders’ faithful, but his greater contribution to the game of football in his earlier years outweighs those lesser moments of his career. That was the message Jones respectfully sent on Saturday upon hearing the saddening news.