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Raiders ironman center, Hall of Famer Jim Otto dies at 86

Updated May 20, 2024 - 9:21 am

Hall of Fame center Jim Otto has died, the Raiders confirmed Sunday. He was 86.

Otto played his entire 15-year NFL career with the Raiders. He set a team record by starting 210 consecutive regular-season games from 1960-74.

“The Raiders Family is in deep mourning following the passing of Jim Otto,” the Raiders said in a statement. “The personification of consistency, Jim’s influence on the American Football League and professional football as a whole cannot be overstated.”

Otto was drafted out of the University of Miami by a proposed Minnesota-based American Football League team in 1960. His draft rights ended up with the Raiders when Minnesota’s ownership group decided to join the NFL and the AFL awarded a team to Oakland instead.

Otto started from the jump for the new franchise. He helped the Raiders win seven division titles and the AFL championship in 1967. He was named to the All-AFL first team by The Associated Press nine times in a 10-year span from 1960-69. He was on the second team in 1966.

The AFL merged with the NFL after the 1969 season. Otto thrived there too, making the Pro Bowl from 1970-72. He was also named a first team All-Pro in 1970 and was named to the second team in 1972.

Otto was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility. He was also named to the NFL’s 100th anniversary All-Time team in 2019 and was selected to the AFL’s All-Time team in 1970.

Otto’s constant availability for his team — he appeared in 308 games counting the preseason, regular season and playoffs — came at a cost. He wrote in his autobiography, “The Pain of Glory,” in 2000 he had undergone 38 surgeries. Both of his knees and shoulders were artificial.

Otto also played through broken fingers and ribs during his career as well as a broken nose. He didn’t let those stop him from suiting up.

“Minor injuries, therefore minor distractions,” Otto wrote. “I was paid to play football, not hang out in the training room.”

Otto was a frequent presence at Allegiant Stadium once the Raiders moved to Las Vegas. He was at the team’s final game last season, a 27-14 home win against the Denver Broncos on Jan. 7. The team lit the Al Davis Memorial Torch at Allegiant Stadium in Otto’s honor Sunday.

Current Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby wrote Sunday on X: “Rip Jim Otto. Absolute Legend & Incredible Person.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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