Former players Daryle Lamonica, Cliff Branch, James Lofton, Mike Haynes, Willie Gault, Tim Brown, Raymond Chester, Rod Martin, Rod Woodson, Barry Sims, Lincoln Kennedy, Dwight Clark, Eric Wright, Dwight Hicks, Jerry Porter, George Atkinson, Mel Renfro, Steve Wisniewski, Ted Hendricks, Mervyn Fernandez, Vance Mueller, and Carl Eller were among those in attendance. Two-time Super Bowl winning head coach Tom Flores and former NFL head coach Jim Fassel were also on hand. Actors Ryan Merriman, Debbe Dunning and Paula Trickey, radio host JT the Brick, and pro golfer Jeff Brehaut, and many others also came out to support Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff and his foundation’s cause.
The day began with registration and reminiscing. Shortly after 11:00 a.m., Biletnikoff addressed the assembled golfers and got the tournament underway. Players took to their golf carts and headed out to the 18-hole course.
The tournament raises money for the Biletnikoff Foundation, which is in memory of the Bilenikoff’s daughter Tracey. The foundation helps build and run homes for troubled youth. “We have such a good response from everybody coming out and it keeps growing every year,” Biletnikoff said. “We’re putting together a house in Loomis. There’s a rehab program up there for teenagers. They house girls and boys. We’re taking over one of the houses and we got a bunch of people together and they’re going to gut the whole house and re-do the whole house. The response we’ve gotten from guys to donate materials and time has been unbelievable.”
Many of Biletnikoff’s former teammates have been supporting the Biletnikoff Foundation by playing in the tournament for many years. The bond these players forged on the gridiron has transformed into lifelong friendships.
“It’s really good to see everybody,” Biletnikoff said. “It’s been a spectacular turnout.”
Daryle Lamonica spent a good part of his career throwing passes to Biletnikoff. These days, instead of throwing passes, he’s hitting golf balls alongside his former teammates.
“Freddy is a special friend, he was a great athlete, and my respect for Freddy as well as the Raiders. It’s like a reunion for all the Raiders,” Lamonica said. “We get a chance to tell stories and see how everybody is doing. It’s like a family reunion more than anything.”
Cliff Branch started at wide receiver opposite Biletnikoff. He plays in the tournament on a regular basis as well. “Fred was my mentor during my career with the Raiders; he was everything to me. He taught me the greatness of being a receiver,” Branch said. “I have a great relationship with Fred. I see Freddie all the time. He’s very important to me, to come out and support his charity, foundation, is a great event.”
“I played with him and against him,” Ted Hendricks said. “It’s always a pleasure to come back and donate the time to help him out any way we can. We have a lot of fun out here because we get to see a lot of our old teammates. We help each other out any way possible that we can.”
Current Raiders LS
“It's unbelievable. To be in the Bay Area and have all the Raiders Legends and some current players here, it's huge because it shows the people that are coming in that are willing to donate their time and money for the foundation. It’s a great way to raise money,” Condo said. “I'm always trying to talk to anyone who's played the game, especially back in the day '60s, '70s, '80s, even '90s, just to ask them questions. I think it's good for the game because those are the guys who paved the way to where I'm at now.”
After spending the day on the course with long-time friends, as well as Raiders fans, , the event wrapped up with dinner and a memorabilia auction.
Learn more about the Biletnikoff Foudation here: http://www.biletnikoff.org/