Former Oakland Raiders player remembers former NFL coach John Madden

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 9:44 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - America is paying tribute to former NFL Hall of Fame Coach John Madden, who died at the age of 85 years old on Tuesday.

Madden made an impact on his players and people across the country, including here in the Chattahoochee Valley.

“When they said he died at 85, I was paralyzed I couldn’t move,” said Former Oakland Raiders NFL player Otis Sistrunk.

Sistrunk, a Columbus native, says he was heartbroken after hearing his former NFL football coach had died.

“He was 85 but he was a great man,” said Sistrunk.

According to the NFL, Madden’s death was unexpected.

Madden wore a few different hats in his lifetime as he was a former NFL football player, hall of fame NFL coach for the Oakland raiders, the face of the video game Madden and a television broadcaster for 30 years before retiring.

“I’ve never worked a day in my life and I’ve went from player, to coach, to coach to broadcaster and I’m the luckiest man alive,” said the late John Madden.

As a broadcaster, Madden was known to many as the voice of the NFL, but most of all he was a coach - a coach that took the Oakland raiders to the Super Bowl and a coach who Sistrunk says players loved.

“You’d do anything John asked you to do. He was a coach that loved his players and I think every coach that worked for him and player that played for him loved him,” said Sistrunk.

Sistrunk played for Madden, who he says they called ‘Big John’ from 1972 until 1980.

“I remember my first year there and he walked up to me and asked me what position do you want to play,” said Sistrunk.

After being traded after one week of being on the Rams, he says Madden gave him the chance to prove himself.

“Lot of folks didn’t think I would make it,” said Sistrunk. “He was a father figure to me because when the Raiders gave me a job I had to accept that job. He would tell you if you were doing good, he would tell you if you were doing bad.”

Although, Madden is no longer here his legacy and prominence in football will continue on forever.

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