Longtime Oakland Raiders athletic trainer H. Rod Martin was afforded the opportunity to light the torch in honor of and in tribute to Al Davis prior to the Raiders 18-3 preseason victory over the St. Louis Rams.
"It was great. It was an honor, when [Owner] Mark [Davis] called me and asked me to do it I was really excited about it," Martin said. "It was a great honor for me personally."
Martin is now in his 36th season with the Raiders. He started in 1980 with legendary trainer George Anderson.
"I was assistant trainer for 15 years under George Anderson, he was the original head trainer of the Raiders – 1960," Martin said. "George retired in 1995 and I became the head trainer."
Martin said that he enjoyed his relationship with Al Davis over the years.
"It was awesome. The man had one goal and that was to win, and that is true of all of us in the organization," Martin said. "You worked hard, it was expected of you, that's why the Raiders were and still are successful."
Martin was named Trainer of the Year in 2011. This past year, Scott Touchet was selected as Assistant Athletic Trainer of the Year.
"He's a great athletic trainer, he's very loyal and he's a smart guy. He's done really well," Martin said. "We work well together, and he's a big part of the organization."
Many people who work behind-the-scenes in the National Football League rarely receive recognition or find themselves in the limelight. Martin enjoyed this moment in front of the Raider Nation.
"It was awesome, for an athletic trainer to get that, we're never on the front lines. We've got the greatest fans in the world," Martin said. "We need them, they're always there for us, it was a great feeling."