Former Raiders safety Jack Tatum, a headhunter best-known for a hit that paralyzed former Patriots WR Darryl Stingley, died Tuesday in Oakland. The cause of death was a heart attack, according to his friend John Hicks, a former teammate of Tatum's at Ohio State.
Tatum, 61, earned the nickname "The Assassin" with his punishing tackles, one of which severed Stingley's fourth and fifth vertebrae in a 1978 preseason game, leaving the 26-year-old receiver a quadriplegic. Stingley died in April 2007 at the age of 55.
A member of the Ohio State and college football halls of fame, Tatum was a two-time All-American as a Buckeye before the Raiders selected him in the first round of the 1971 draft. He spent nine seasons in Oakland before finishing his career with the Houston Oilers in 1980.
"We have lost one of our greatest Buckeyes," Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel said in a statement. "When you think of Ohio State defense, the first name that comes to mind is Jack Tatum. His loss touches every era of Ohio State players and fans."
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