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what they're saying about george blanda

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of the great George Blanda. George was a brave Raider and a close personal friend of Raiders owner Al Davis.

"When the Raiders owner presented him for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981, Davis called Blanda the greatest clutch player the game of pro football has ever known.

"The Miracle of George Blanda in 1970 will live for eternity in the history of the Raiders, as well as all of professional football. That year, Blanda's last-minute heroics as a quarterback and place-kicker resulted in four victories and a last-second tie for the Silver and Black.

"Our heart goes out to his wife, Betty, and the Blanda family, and we grieve with them for our great friend."

-- Statement released by the Raiders

"If you put him in a group of most competitive, biggest clutch players, I think he'd have to be the guy who would win it all. He was the most competitive guy that I ever knew."

-- John Madden, former Raiders coach

"It got to the point where when he'd come in (the game), the whole team would go, 'Here comes George. We're going to do it now.' Then pretty soon all the fans started believing, and they'd all go nuts. And then the topper is when the opponents knew it. It was like, 'Oh no, here he comes.' "


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-- Madden, on Blanda's 1970 season

"George Blanda will always be remembered as a legend of our game, including his amazing career longevity of 26 seasons in four different decades. George's multitalented flair for the dramatic highlighted the excitement of pro football during an important period of growth for our sport."

-- Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner

"A seemingly ageless wonder, George inspired legions of fans over a 26-year career, with his clutch performances as a quarterback and place-kicker. He will be truly missed.

-- Steve Perry, executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

"The team and I and the coaches would like to send our hearts, thoughts and our prayers to the George Blanda family. Obviously that's a tremendous loss for the entire Raider family. I got a chance to meet him in Chicago for the first time. For me, to meet one of your heroes up close was a pretty special deal."

-- Tom Cable, Raiders coach

"He was like a father figure to me. He was a great kicker and a legend. Coming here and seeing him on the sideline was special."

-- Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders kicker