Tuesday, September 28, 2010

George Blanda Dies at 83

George Blanda, whose 26-year vocation was the best of any player in N.F.L. history, has died at age 83. The Oakland Raiders, the team with which he came identical and from which he finally broken his career, confirmed his death.

Blanda played so long that he had what amounted to three N.F.L. careers. He spent 10 years with the Chicago Bears, but retired when they tried to make him exclusively a kicker, and then seven more with the Houston Oilers of the upstart A.F.L. When the Oilers decided he was finished in 1967, he joined the Raiders and played nine more seasons. He wound up in the Hall of Fame with a standing as one of the greatest grasp performer in football history.

There may have been dozens of multi-tool players like Blanda when he came into the league as a 12th-round pick out of Kentucky, where he had played for Bear Bryant, in 1949. But there weren’t many when he left before the 1976 season — a month before his 49th birthday — and they certainly don’t make players like him anymore.


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