Jack Tatum, the former Raiders safety who died today at age 61, is being remembered as a fierce player on the field who was often misunderstood off the field.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Jack Tatum’s passing,” the Raiders said in a statement. “Jack was a true Raider champion and a true Raider warrior.”
Tatum is perhaps best remembered for a hit that left Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley paralyzed — and for a seeming lack of remorse for that hit. But those who knew Tatum say that he was deeply affected by the incident.
“It was tough on him, too,” friend and former Ohio State teammate John Hicks said. “He wasn’t the same person after that. For years he was almost a recluse.”
Tatum was a named National Defensive Player of the Year in 1970, his senior season at Ohio State, and in his three college seasons the Buckeyes went 27-2 and won a national championship.
“We have lost one of our greatest Buckeyes,” current Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. “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.”
Tatum, a three-time Pro Bowler, played for the Raiders from 1971 to 1979, and for the Houston Oilers in 1980.