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Legendary Raiders center Jim Otto dies at 86

TONY TOMSIC-USA TODAY NETWORK
                                Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica hands the ball off to Marv Hubbard as Jim Otto (00) blocks Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene during the 1972 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium, in December 1972.
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TONY TOMSIC-USA TODAY NETWORK

Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica hands the ball off to Marv Hubbard as Jim Otto (00) blocks Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene during the 1972 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium, in December 1972.

Legendary Oakland Raiders center Jim Otto, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, has died at the age of 86, the team announced Sunday.

The Raiders did not disclose a cause of death.

Otto spent his entire 15-year career with the Raiders, who moved to Las Vegas ahead of the 2020 season. Oakland was playing as a member of the AFL for Otto’s first 10 seasons (1960-69).

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

One of three players to play in all 140 AFL regular-season games, Otto started 210 games for the Raiders in all. No one else started at center from his first game in 1960 to his last in 1974.

Despite the remarkable consistency from season to season, Otto did deal with his fair share of injuries, and he had to have over 70 surgeries, most of which related to his knees. Because of two serious infections, Otto had to have his right leg amputated in 2007, and he also fought prostate cancer.

Otto landed in the Hall of Fame in 1980 — the first year he was eligible. He was named to the NFL 100 All-Time team in 2019.

Even when his playing days were over, Otto stayed involved with the Raiders organization, serving as the director of special projects. During his time in that role, Otto set up reunions for former players and made public appearances as a representative for the team.

Otto was also known for wearing No. 00, an ode to the two O’s in his last name. However, NFL players nowadays cannot select that number.

“‘00’ was the foundational piece of a transcendent offensive line that not only propelled the Raiders to success on the field but resonated with fans and helped build the Raiders persona and mystique,” the team said in its statement.

Otto is survived by his wife, a son, his daughter-in-law and 14 grandchildren.

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