It is with a heavy heart that I write this. Although I am too young to remember Marv Hubbard as a player, I have written about him numerous times and watched many highlights featuring this talented running back. The Raiders family learned Monday evening that Hubbard had passed away at age 68.
The Salamanca, N.Y.,-native played his collegiate football at Colgate, preceding Mark van Eeghen both at Colgate and with the Raiders. The Raiders selected Hubbard in the 11th round of the 1968 draft. He played for the Raiders from 1969-75 and finished his career with one year with the Detroit Lions in 1977. His best season came in 1972 when he rushed for 1,100 yards on 219 carries with 4 TDs. Hubbard ranks as the 5th leading rusher in Raiders history with 913 carries for 4,394 yards and 22 TDs.
He played alongside numerous Hall of Famers in some of the most important games in the early history of the franchise.
We've collected some remembrances.
Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio
"I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Marv Hubbard's passing. Marv was a childhood hero of mine and I wore his number, 44, in high school because he embodied traits like hard work and determination on the football field. We lost a true Raider yesterday and my sincerest condolences and prayers are with Marv's family right now."
Hall of Fame Head Coach John Madden
"He was a first of the Colgate fullbacks we had. My whole time with the Raiders I had two fullbacks that were both from Colgate, Marv Hubbard being the first one and then Mark van Eeghen after that. Marv was a tough guy. He was a tough runner. He was a hard runner. We used to use him – you think back now, people don't do things like this, but we used to run him early to kind of wear the defense down and then in the middle we would pass and do all our stuff, and then when we got ahead we would run him to finish the game. He was a great game finisher. Once we got that lead, you weren't going to get it back again. You weren't going to get the lead back again. You weren't going to get the ball back again, and we had the defense worn down, and we just kept feeding Marv Hubbard, and Marv Hubbard loved that part of football.
He stood out on the special teams, because he was a fullback, but when you put him on a coverage team he was like a linebacker."
Former Quarterback and Head Coach Tom Flores
"I knew Marv as both an opponent, because when I was first introduced to him, I was with the Chiefs and the Chiefs always loved to play against Marv because he was such a competitive fighter and he used to fire them up. It was kind of a mutual thing for him, with a lot of respect, because he was a tough guy. Then I came to the Raiders as an assistant coach and got to know him a lot better as a person and realized what a great athlete he was – what a great football player. You couldn't find the words to describe his toughness. He was just a tough guy, and he was what I would call a closer because at the end of the game when you were protecting a lead all you had to do was give him the ball, even though they knew he was coming, he would get the yardage."
A look back at RB Marv Hubbard's career.
Former Raiders safety George Atkinson**
"A great football player. A hard-nosed football player. A guy who believed in giving 120 percent when he stepped on the field and he was just one of the toughest fullbacks, I think, in the league at that time. He averaged something like 4.8 yards per carry and he got those yards the hard way. He ran between the tackles; he wasn't an outside runner. All his yardage was tough yardage. As a person, on the other hand, the guy was probably one of the nicest guys you would want to meet. He had a good sense of humor. He loved to have fun and was just a good all-around guy.
One year in the 1970s, we were playing in Kansas City. Marv was telling the defensive linemen and the linebackers what hole he was coming in and told them, 'now stop me,' and believe it or not, they didn't stop him even though he was going into the holes he told them that he was going to. That's the kind of guy Marv Hubbard was. Like I said, just a good all-around guy."
Former Raiders TE Raymond Chester**
"Marv was a great teammate. He was a great teammate and a very good friend. Obviously we hadn't played football together in a lot of years, but we've maintained our friendship over all that time. I really, really, really liked Marv Hubbard. Of all the teammates I've had over the years, he was one of the top teammates I've ever had and I have some specific reasons for that. First of all, Marv was just a real warrior. If he was on your team, win or lose, you could be down by 30 points or up by 30 points, and he was going to play the same. He was going to play as hard as he could play and he was going to be as loyal and committed to the team as anybody I ever played with. That's the thing I liked about Marv. He was one of the most consistent guys that I've ever played with or ever known or ever been friends with for a long period of time. That's one of the things I loved about Marv. He was the same every time you saw him. Every time I ever saw Marv or talked to Marv he was the same in terms of his demeanor, his personality and who he was. I never had to guess about Marv Hubbard and on the field I never had to guess or worry about whether Marv Hubbard was going to show up, because he always did. He always gave his best, whatever that was to give, he gave it."