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'The Grand Old Man,' Hall of Famer Blanda dies

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By PFW staff

One of the NFL's all-time greatest players, Hall of Famer George Blanda, has died at the age of 83.

Blanda played for 26 seasons as a quarterback and placekicker with the Bears, Oilers and Raiders. Blanda retired after the 1975 season, kicking his final field goal and extra point in the AFC championship game at the age of 48.

A four-time Pro Bowler, Blanda retired with multiple passing and kicking records. Known as "The Grand Old Man" for his longevity on the gridiron, Blanda is the all-time leader in career extra points made and fifth all-time in career points. His 2,002 career points stood as the most all-time until PK Gary Anderson surpassed the mark in 2000. Blanda played in 340 games throughout his career, good for fourth all-time.

Born in Youngswood, Pa., Blanda played for Bear Bryant at the University of Kentucky before playing for the Bears. He spent 10 seasons with George Halas in Chicago, helping lead the Bears to the NFL title game in 1956.

Blanda joined the Houston Oilers of the then-fledgling American Football League and led them to two AFL titles in 1960 and 1961. The Raiders and owner Al Davis acquired Blanda in 1967, when he was 39. Blanda is most well-known for his 1970 season with the Raiders, when he led Oakland to four wins and one tie with last-second TD passes or field goals at the age of 43.

Blanda was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

The Raiders released a statement mourning 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."

 

Related link: Record to forget: Blanda's 42-INT season

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