Jim Otto, Raiders legend Hall of Famer, dies at 86

NFL

Longtime Raiders center Jim Otto has died at the age of 86, the team announced Sunday night.

No cause of death was reported.

The durable Otto, wearing the distinctive “00,” was the centerpiece for the first 15 seasons of the Raiders franchise from 1960-1974, starting 210 consecutive games.

“I often saw being a football player as a gladiator,” Otto told Bleacher Report in 2009.

“There’s something in you that says, ‘I want to go out there and prove myself.’ Most of the time you’re going to get hurt. That’s the life you choose. Some people need a challenge in life. They play hockey or rugby is the way I prove myself.

Longtime Raiders center Jim Otto died Sunday at age 86. Media News Group via Getty Images

Otto was first-team All-AFL nine times and later a three-time Pro Bowl center after the AFL and NFL merged.

“His skills as a center are perfect,” the Raiders’ Hall of Fame coach, late John Madden, once said. “He’s one of those guys who doesn’t want to come out of practice. It’s the opposite of most starters who say, ‘Send the second guy in.’

Otto was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility.

The durable Otto, wearing the distinctive “00,” was the centerpiece for the first 15 seasons of the Raiders franchise from 1960-1974, starting 210 consecutive games. American Presswire
Otto was first-team All-AFL nine times and later a three-time Pro Bowl center after the AFL and NFL merged. American Presswire

“A commitment to excellence, pride and balance, Jim Otto not only exemplified the greatness of our football team, but for more than a decade he was the standard of excellence by which centers were judged in professional football,” said the late Raiders Hall of Famer. Owner Al Davis said at Otto’s Shrine.

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Otto underwent more than 70 surgeries and in 2007 his right leg was amputated.

“I’m not the kind of guy who wants someone to feel sorry for me. I will do whatever I want. If I want to live I will go to war,” Otto said in 2013, “I have done a lot since my leg was amputated. I’ve been to the Arctic Circle. I’ve been in all kinds of arenas… I love to hunt.”

Otto was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Otto underwent more than 70 surgeries and in 2007 his right leg was amputated. Media News Group via Getty Images

He is survived by his wife, son and 14 grandchildren.

“I saw him bleed,” Raiders linebacker Phil Villabiano said in a 2022 interview. “I mean, every play. Whatever helmet he was wearing definitely didn’t work because it would come down and knock over his nose. He would bleed every play. The players on the other team, ‘What’s wrong with this guy?!’




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