George Blanda dies at age of 83
Updated at 3:34 p.m.
Legendary NFL Hall of Famer George Blanda, who played professional football for 26 years and was for a time the all-time leading scorer in the NFL, has died at the age of 83.
Blanda, regarded as an ageless wonder who became a household name during his years with the Raiders, was known for versatility, durability and longevity, originally playing quarterback and kicking for the Chicago Bears (with one season spent with Baltimore). When the Bears wanted him to just kick after 10 years, Blanda jumped to the Houston Oilers of the American Football League.
"He didn't want to be known as a kicker," former Oakland Raiders Coach John Madden said. "He wanted to be known as a quarterback who kicked."
Cut by the Oilers at the age of 39, he signed with Al Davis and the Raiders and became famous for leading comebacks and upsets as a quarterback and a kicker, although he was playing for a coach, Madden, who was nine years younger than he. During a five-game stretch in 1970, he won four games and tied another with either his arm or foot.
"Al Davis always liked my attitude, and my time with the Raiders was special, because it looked like my career was over" the always-blunt Blanda said. "Instead, I played another nine years, which by itself was more than twice the average playing career."
He retired as the NFL's all-time leading scorer after the 1975 season. His 2,002 points stood as the record until 2000, when Gary Anderson broke it. He also held records for career field-goal attempts (637) and PATs made and attempted (943 of 959).
When Blanda was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981, Davis was his presenter.
"Two renegades, me and Al Davis," Blanda said. "It was great."
| September 27, 2010; 3:03 PM ET
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