Charlie Sumner, a former Bears and Vikings defensive back and Raiders defensive coordinator, passed away Friday in Hawaii at age 84, the Bay Area News Group reported.
The Raiders confirmed Sumner’s passing in a statement Monday.
“Charlie was an esteemed part of the Raider family and was instrumental in some of the Silver and Black’s greatest triumphs. Our deepest sympathies are with Charlie’s family at this time,” the club said.
As a Raiders defensive assistant, Sumner played a key role in one of the pivotal plays in Oakland’s 38-9 rout of Washington in Super Bowl XVIII.
Late in the first half, Sumner suspected Washington might try a screen pass, and he substituted linebacker Jack Squirek for Matt Millen.
“I told Squirek just to go wherever [tailback Joe] Washington goes,” Sumner recalled in “The Ultimate Super Bowl Book.”
Squirek did as he was told, and the play unfolded as Sumner thought it might. Washington quarterback Joe Theismann looked right, then threw back to his left. Squirek jumped the route, caught the ball and scored a touchdown, giving Oakland a 21-3 halftime edge.
“He deserves the credit,” Squirek said of Sumner’s screen-pass hunch after the Raiders’ Super Bowl win, according to the Associated Press.
Sumner would later coach the USFL’s Oakland franchise in 1985 before returning to the Raiders for a tour as defensive coordinator (1987-1988).
Sumner intercepted 21 passes in six NFL seasons as a safety with Chicago (1955, 1958-1960) and Minnesota (1961-1962). He played collegiately at William and Mary.