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Former Raiders WR Art Powell, an independent thinker and spectacular talent, dies at age 78

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Art Powell, an independent free-thinker who played four spectacular seasons as a wide receiver for the Raiders from 1963-66, has died at age 78.

“The Raider family is sad to learn of the passing of Art Powell,” the club said in a statement. “His strong convictions and athletic prowess helped shape the pro football landscape of the 1960s. Our hearts and prayers and most sincere condolences are with his family at this time.”

The Raiders released no information regarding cause of death, but the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Powell died Monday night and had been dealing with heart problems and other health issues.

Powell, a 6-foot-3, 211-pound specimen that owner Al Davis once called “the T.O. of his time” in reference to Terrell Owens, had 254 receptions for 4,491 yards and 50 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Raiders.

For his career, Powell had 479 receptions for 8,046 yards and 81 touchdowns.

Powell began his career in 1959 with the Philadelphia Eagles, but was released after refusing to participate in a preseason game in Norfolk, Va., because African-Amercan players were not allowed to stay in the same hotel as white players.

He surfaced with the New York Titans of the American Football League, and signed with the Raiders after Davis paid a personal visit. The Raiders had been on of the AFL’s worst teams, and Powell had no intention of coming to Oakland until he talked to Davis, who had taken over as coach and general manager.

“My wife and I took Al to dinner. We went back to our apartment, and he told me how he was going to give me a chance to stretch out and show what kind of receiver I could really be,” Powell said in a 2006 story in the Oakland Tribune. “Being the salesman that he is, when he left, he had a signed contract with my name on it.”

With the Raiders, Powell and other African-American players balked at the idea of playing in a preseason game in Ladd Stadium Mobile, Ala., because black fans weren’t allowed to sit with whites and players were to be split up into two hotels.

Powell, Clem Daniels, Bo Roberson and Fred Williamson met with Davis to express their concern, and Davis had the game switched to Frank Youell Field in Oakland.

“Al never put on another game in the south during my time with the Raiders,” Powell said.

The Raiders traded Powell to the Buffalo Bills in 1967 at Powell’s request. Powell, wanted to pursue a business opportunity in the area.

Powell played in college at San Jose State with Bill Walsh as graduate assistant coach and Walsh was later an offensive coach for the Raiders when Powell was on the team.

“Art was his own man and fiercely independent,” Walsh said in 2006. “He was not afraid to voice his own opinions and take a stand.

Davis traded Powell and quarterback Tom Flores to Buffalo in exchange for quarterback Daryle Lamonica, who threw 34 touchdown passes as the Raiders went 13-1 and won the AFC championship.

Powell’s career faded in Buffalo following a knee injury and in 2006 he said he wondered how things had gone had he never requested a trade from the Raiders.

“Not every decision you make goes well,” Powell said. “I regret it more than Mr. Davis does. There is no doubt playing with the Raiders would have been the best way to finish my career. You make a decision, you live with it.”

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Howard Benner

    Which is why we get on so well. . .LOL

  • Howard Benner

    I have years of solid talent evals to substantiate my confidence. . .

    Although my prospective 2013 second round draft pick, LeVeon Bell was just handed a three game suspension for a controlled substance violation. . .plus a game check. . .alcohol & ganga related. . .

  • Howard Benner

    Speaking of smoking; the three game suspension of LeVeon Bell comes to mind. . .

  • Howard Benner

    However, if he continues down this slippery slope as a pro I don’t think he will be as successful.. .

    However, I do consider him an elite talent with the moxie, ability to survey a defense & leadership abilities to become an upper echelon NFL QB. . .I just like Mariotta better. . .his quiet leadership reminds me of Joe Montana, & his work ethic reminds me of Rich Gannon. . .

    He posseses a similar skill set to Kapernick, but with the ‘tude; & he excelled against a high higher quality of comp than Kap did. . .

    I hasten back to the National Championship game against Ohio State; early on when his receivers dropped two very catchable balls on third down he didn’t get in their face; he just stayed the course. . .& both plays were under duress. . .if his receivers catch those balls the game probably goes an entirely different direction. . .I just like Mariotta; have been in his camp since I first saw him play. . .sure, comparisons to RG III & Kap can be made, but this guy is what the aforementioned mobile QB’s are not; a team first guy. . .

  • r8dercain

    Bubba Kush comes to my mind

  • Howard Benner

    And the stats remain staunchly on the other side of the spectrum. . .Carr has yet to display the long & intermediate ball accuracy; &, more importantly, the toughness to hang in the pocket, allow the routes to develop & get the ball accurately to second, third, etc. options. . .

    Carr is not nearly as tough as Mariotta. . .I hasten back to the Raiders-Seahawks game last year. . .which I attended. . I reside in the 206

    First off, a bit of individual subtext; in my estimation the true determiner regarding a player’s success is how they perform on the road. . .

    Before the game, tailgating outside CenturyLink & while seated; I was discussing the prospects of our beloved Raiders. . .while universal acceptance greeted Carr’s future I went on to explain I was hesitant to display similar confidence. . .

    I referred to many plays in which I saw Carr cringe in the pocket, reminiscent to a Seattelite & former Raider QB, Marc Wilson. . .

    Sure enough, mid way through the first quarter Carr dropped back, with a Seahawk pass rusher closing in on him. . .Carr had a wide open receiver over the middle. . .instead of keeping his form, absorbing the hit yet gaining a valuable th=ird down conversion, Carr folded up like a cheap tent & the ball harmlessly nose dove into the turf, incomplete. . .is that a display of toughness?

    In addition both first half picks in that game were with good pass pro. . .then Carr went on to yell @ D. Moore for running a route too shallow & Watson for failing to sustain his block. . .bot on the field, in the huddle. . .not on the sideline. . .is that the behavior you want your unproven rookie QB to display?

    Weeks later, in Cleveland, close to the end of the first half, the Raiders faced a third & over & inside Cleveland territory, in FG range. . .Carr opted to throw to his first option, James Jones, on the 100 to much to the well back shoulder fade. . .the Cleveland CB obviously did his film study; the pass was broken up & the Raiders had to settle for a SeaBass FG. . .

    Meanwhile, Tompkins was uncovered on the crosser. . .if Carr had waited one second longer, Tompkins adds YAC’s to the play & the Raiders could have scored sin on that possession. . .

    Both games were very winnable. . .in both contests the Raiders, save for the QB made enough plays to win each game. . .the Seaslug fans agreed with me, as walking out of the game many fans that I hadn’t spoken to noticed my Raider white jersey, shoulders sagging, & offered comments akin to “we stepped in lucky sh&t today. . .”

    Carr has the look; but does the rest of his skill set; propensity to rid himself of the ball instead of taking a hit that not only gains receptions but galvanizes his teammates resolve. . .yelling @ teammates while he makes judgment mistakes. . .translate?

    I just favor Mariotta. . .a quiet guy that not only takes the killer hit but recognizes an open field & takes advantage of his considerable physical skills to gain yardage. . something Carr was often encouraged to do but only accomplished on a few improvisational occurances. . .

    Mariotta is good @ throwing to his receivers on combo routes, can double clutch well & has an elite level release. . if there was a player who will put in the requisite work to become great it is Marcus Mariotta. . .

    Being a Raider fan I want Carr to succeed, but I don’t possess the confidence you do. . .he has a Tarzan skill set but a Jane game. . .

    Peyton Manning has never displayed an elite arm. . .Mariotta’s armis margianny better than Manning’s. . .I remember years ago, right after Eli Manning entered the league. . .there was a on the field comp between the two; Eli was light years better than Peyton. . .still, doesn’t Jon Gruden refer to Peyton as “the Sheriff?!”

    There is much more to a QB’s game than having a good hose. . .seeing is believing but looks are deceiving. . .

  • Howard Benner

    LOL

  • krawf32901

    Whoever wrote that contradicted themselves @ least 3 times with his strengths and his weaknesses,which is it???Has vision or runs into his blockers,is a willing blocker or unreliable blocker…

  • EDWARD TEACH

    I understand what you’re trying to say, but there are enough questions about each player that we’re not likely to see a bidding war that would result in a haul of picks like that.

    Based on the points chart (which, as I mentioned, is only a guide), it would be the Raiders giving up their third rounder in addition to the fourth overall in order to receive Cleveland’s two first rounders. There could conceivably be some variation on the deal, of course, but to expect the Browns to throw in an extra third would be a bit optimistic, and not altogether realistic.

  • Howard Benner

    Let’s examine the scenario from afar. . .

    The Brownies lockerroom is already split on whether the selection of Johnny football was a good choice. . .

    Their GM is already under more than scrutiny due to his texting the coach during games activity. . .

    The Brownies have never been lauded for their good decisions. . .

    After the Jets & Brownies decipher whether their journeymen QB’s can be more than caddies the ante to obtain the QB not selected first overall might exponentially increase. . .

    This is a scenario that determines further evaluation. ..this is terrain that has not been covered in any other draft. . .so I think you have to throw the so called Jimmy Johnson “points chart” out the door. . .

    There are questions about any player that is eligible for the draft. . .Mack came from a small school. . .Peyton Manning lost all the big game she played in as a collegian. . .Jerry Rice ran a slow forth time leading up to his draft. ..the list goes on & on. . .

  • EDWARD TEACH

    The situation has been covered in other drafts; plenty of teams had to decide whether or not to trade up based on their awful QB situations, but in the end it’s what actually happens this year that matters. The reason the Redskins trade for RGIII and Ditka’s folly are notable is because things like that don’t normally happen, and current evidence supports that neither of those trades was a good idea. I digress, however; your opinion is just as valid as mine and in the end we’ll both see what happens.

  • Howard Benner

    I do enjoy the give & take you & I experience as it is bereft of vitriol & acrimony. . .

  • EDWARD TEACH

    Thank you, Howard. Enjoy visiting with you also.

  • Howard Benner

    Edward, if everyone that blogged would possess a similar mindset the accompanying exchanges would be more worthwhile; emcompassing exchanges of thought & less adversarial. . .inn line with debate decorum, which I am all about. . .as you are well acquainted. . .

  • RaYdAFoELyPh

    W0rd

  • LondonAl

    I agree with you but it’s difficult for fans in the age we live in. Many won’t wait for a cup of coffee let alone their team to improve. I was fed up with Reggie at the end of last season but I am now OK with his retention as GM. However he’s going into his fourth season so time for some Raider football in 2015.

  • Howard Benner

    I agree. . .allegedly the Raiders now have a nucleus of young players to compliment the veterans. . .let’s see what fortune comes the way of the Raiders; there is enough talent to trade down. . .not without risks. . .& accumulate a stockpile of talent to grow upon. . .

    Fans are into instant gratification. . .guess they don’t understand the three date premise. . .but to get the best talent takes time to coach ’em up. . .a ysou well know. . .

    Yes, Reggie’s last hurrah.. .after whiffing on Hayden & Waston. . shoulda had Sheldon rRchardson & LeVeon Bell. . .then spending the second fourth rounder last year on Keith McGill instead of Martavis Bryant. . .completely ignoring any WR’s in the deepest pool in draft history. . .this has to be it. . .

  • 2romes

    I Know Marriotta looks great to you right now but he as yet to take on NFL snap. Manziel looked great to many before he took an NFL snap. You are right. Carr has a lot to learn, toughness included, but I feel he will get there if he has protection like an average QB should get. You must admit his QB protection has broken down much to often than the average QB should endure. As the team get better he will make more sacrifices.

  • 2romes

    Yes, Mariotta is a class act. I would choose him over Jameis Not because I think he is the better QB right but because I think he is a better leader right now.

  • 7 HELLS WOMAN! 7 HELLS

    No they didn’t and they didn’t grill him like you suggest. Lopes told him to go to 2nd…they play is on Rollins and in the post game he even admitted it.

  • Ronin559

    Seattle’s WR are garbage, if Harvin was not a cancer he would have torched the DBs. That non-starter had to make contested catches because none of them could get open. That is why Wilson had such a poor 1st half while Brady hit an open Edelman on all day.

  • Howard Benner

    Do not even attempt to mention Johnny Partytime & Marcus Mariotta in the same sentence. . .

    Johnny never met a party he didn’t like. . he thought all he had to do was throw his jock on the field & instant result time . . .

    Meanwhile, Mariotta realizes what defeciencies he has to work on & is immersed in training, studying & getting coached up on the nuances of NFL football. . .

    Add his elite athleticism, his work ethic, his quiet leadership that COMMANDS his teammates to work harder. . so as not to let down their workaholic QB. . .

    The Raiders had arguably the worst supporting cast across the board. . however, the next time Carr is able to elevate his teammates game will be the first. . .Mariotta doesn’t even have to say a word; his teammates are “guilted” into performing better. . .preparing harder. . working to Mariotta;s level so as not to let him down. .

    As far as toughness is concerned that is a charateristic one has or is bereft of. . Carr will never be that guy; he abhors contact. . .Mariotta? he considers it a challenge to take on the oposition. . .

    I’m watching the Gruden QB camp right now, with Mariotta as the featured player. . .you need to become more objective. . .check around. . .I hate to toot my horn, but there isn;t another person on this blog that can evaluate talent like me. . ‘

    Mriotta has one of the best releases of any QB I have seen in the last decade. . he has an elite release. . he reads the defense well. . .he can look off the safety. . change coverage with his eyes. . he’s not a one trick pony. . his best trait? He aspires to be the best; he has seen Andrew Luck & players of his level. . he is a Pac 12 QB who has seen what the comp has to offer. . .he was not the reason Oregon lost to Ohio State. . .it was his excellence that kept him in that game. .

    Talk about preparation for the NFL; he has been to the top of the comp mountain. . this is a guy that can convert what he is taught on the field. . an extension of his coach, which is what you want. . .Since Andrew Luck, this is the guy I want running my team. . end of story. . .

  • Howard Benner

    He WILL be the better player. . .I love his makeup. . .unshakeable. . .his inner confidence is off the board. . he learns & will be able to project what he learns onto the field.

    Gru said it himself; Mariotta will be able to make that transition. . .& be an elite QB. . .i see Tennessee taking him if Tampa stays the Famous Jameis route