Jack Tatum , "The Assassin", passed away of a heart attack today in an Oakland hospital.
Tatum was a All-Star defensive back at Ohio State in the late 1960's and then a Pro-Bowler with the Oakland Raiders, making a name for himself by leveling receivers with vicious hits that would most likely get him banned in today's NFL.
His fate will always be entwined with that of New England Patriots' WR Darryl Stingley, who Tatum disabled with a hit during a preseason game in 1978.
Stingley would never walk again, paralyzed from the neck down, but "The Assassin" would also never be the same.
Former college teammate and Giants' offensive lineman John Hicks...
"It was tough on him, too." Hicks told reporters. 'He wasn't the same person after that. For years he was almost a recluse."
Tatum would write several books, but never escape the tragic play involving Stingley. Over the years, he attempted mutliple times to meet with Stingley, but it never materialized. Stingley, who became an executive with the Patriots, died in 2007.
From the AP....
Tatum had said he tried to visit Stingley at an Oakland hospital
shortly after the collision but was turned away by Stingley's family
"It's not so much that Darryl doesn't want to, but it's
the people around him," Tatum told the Oakland Tribune in 2004. "So we
haven't been able to get through that. Every time we plan something, it
gets messed up. Getting to him or him getting back to me, it never
Part of the alienation came after Tatum wrote the 1980
book, "They Call Me Assassin," in which he was unapologetic for his
"I was paid to hit, the harder the better. And I hit, and I knocked
people down and knocked people out. ... I understand why Darryl is
considered the victim. But I'll never understand why some people look at