Quarterback Ken Stabler
Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis met Ken Stabler for the first time in 1968.
Stabler was a freshly-drafted quarterback from the University of Alabama, and Davis was a ball boy for the Silver and Black.
Over the weekend, Stabler was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, with Davis and a multitude of other Raiders Hall of Famers in attendance.
Prior to the ceremony, Davis spent a few minutes with A.P. Steadham and WHEP 1310 AM based out of Foley, Ala., and discussed all things Stabler.
Here are the highlights from his interview.
Davis shared his earliest memories of "The Snake."
"I remember back in 1968, the '68 Draft – I was 13 years old at the time. I was working as a ball boy for the Raiders. That draft, the first-round draft pick was Eldridge Dickey, a quarterback out of Tennessee State, I believe it was. Then in the second, Kenny was there, and they picked Kenny Stabler, of course everybody knew who Ken was. It was a pretty exciting draft. I was working at training camp, and the quarterbacks came up – I remember Kenny as somebody who could throw the ball, I thought, hard. I had caught from all the quarterbacks. I had caught from Daryle [Lamonica], and all these guys, and Kenny threw a dart."
Stabler was a team leader with a penchant for the dramatic.
"Kenny was a leader of the team. He really worked hard during practice. When he came through the gates of the practice field, Kenny was a worker. On the field, I can tell you he was a hard worker. We'd always say that in a game, if a team was close to scoring near the end of the game, 'just let them score so we can have the ball last, and let Kenny take us down and win.'"
Not only was Stabler a supremely-talented quarterback, he was surrounded by Hall of Fame players on the offensive side of the football.
"Once a Raider, Always a Raider. He was one [player] on a team, if you look at it, I think there's maybe seven guys – I think six are in the Hall of Fame from that offense, and if [wide receiver] Cliff Branch gets in, which he should, there would be seven guys from that offense. I don't think there's ever been a team that had the two starting wide receivers, the tight end, and the quarterback in the Hall of Fame. If Cliff gets in, we'll be the first to have that, but then you had [center] Jim Otto, [tackle] Art Shell, and [guard] Gene Upshaw. Kenny was one of many in that."
Davis shared the emotions he would be feeling upon seeing Stabler inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"Tears are probably one thing that will happen, just for the love of him, and just knowing that he's part of the family, and the things in his life, and everything else. It'll be quite emotional. There will be goosebumps."