Raiders Hall of Famer Jim Otto Dead at 86

( – Football Hall of Famer Jim Otto – known as Mr. Raider – has died at age 86. The Las Vegas Raiders announced Mr. Otto’s death on May 19, saying, “The Raiders Family is in deep mourning following the passing of Jim Otto.” The statement furthermore described Otto as the “personification of consistency” and said his influence over the sport is immeasurable. Mr. Otto did not miss a single game throughout his 15 years with the Raiders and entered the Football Hall of Fame in 1980, the first year he was eligible.

Born in Wausau, Wisconsin, his football career began at high school and continued at the University of Miami, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. In 1960, Otto was the first player to snap the ball for the Oakland Raiders, an entrant team to the new American Football League that competed with the NFL until the two merged in 1970. The Raiders won seven titles and an AFL League Championship with Mr. Otto at the team’s center.

In later life, the football star reflected on his career and injuries and described physical pain as a mere state of mind and injury as an indicator of effort. “If my nose wasn’t broken during a game, I wondered if I played hard enough,” he said.

Otto played in some of the greatest games in football history, including the “Immaculate Reception” against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1972 and the “Sea of Hands” against Miami two years later.

The Wisconsin native reportedly underwent more than 70 surgeries in his life, most related to football injury and including joint replacements. He suffered from neck and back problems and had his right leg amputated in 2007. In later life, Mr. Otto had prostate cancer and a dementia diagnosis. He married his wife Sally in 1962, and they remained together until his death. The couple lost their daughter to a blood clot-related heart attack in 1997.

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