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Super Bowl rings were trivial pursuit for Raiders’ Sylvester

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series acquainting fans with the Raiders’ illustrious 60-year history as the team moves to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.

In keeping with the theme of this feature, it would have been great were there only five Raiders who have played on all three of the team’s Super Bowl-winning teams.

Alas, there are six.

Two are in the Hall of Fame — linebacker Ted Hendricks and punter Ray Guy. Three— wide receiver Cliff Branch, center Dave Dalby and offensive tackle Henry Lawrence — also are familiar to the average Raiders fan.

But the sixth lord of the (three) rings was the answer to Branch’s favorite trivia question, according to the book “100 Things Raiders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” authored by former Review-Journal sports writer and longtime Raiders beat man Paul Gutierrez.

His name was Steve Sylvester. Here are four things about him, as well as a bonus trivia question about Raiders’ Super Bowl rings that hits closer to their new home:

1. Sylvester was an offensive lineman drafted out of Notre Dame (he also has a 1973 NCAA national championship ring) in the 10th round in 1975. Over his nine-year Raiders career, he played in 196 regular-season games, starting 31. So it wasn’t as if he was Al Davis’ long-lost nephew, or something like that.

2. But he said he was beholden to the Raiders’ long-time owner for giving him an opportunity to play on Sunday and the occasional Monday night. “I was fortunate that Mr. Davis had enough confidence in me because I wasn’t good enough to start, but I was good enough to back up,” Sylvester said. “And I was wise enough to volunteer for as many jobs as possible.”

3. When Hall of Famer Jim Otto retired, it created a roster spot for Sylvester. Dalby assumed Otto’s starting position and Sylvester raised his hand to back him up. “He gave everything and played 15 years and doesn’t have a ring,” No. 66 (Sylvester) said of No. 00 (Otto). “And I have three? How do you explain that?”

4. Other jobs Sylvester volunteered for: Blocking wedge man (since outlawed) and long snapper on special teams.

5. Second trivia question: Who is the player listed on the 1976 and ‘83 Raiders Super Bowl rosters but not 1980? Second trivia answer: David Humm. The team’s longtime backup quarterback from Las Vegas was carrying the clipboard as Joe Ferguson’s understudy for the Buffalo Bills when the Raiders won their second Super Bowl.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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