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Raiders enter camp with 'chip' on shoulders There was a common theme to the players the Oakland Raiders brought in this offseason. Discarded or unwanted by their former teams, players with a history of success in the NFL talked about the motivation of having a ''chip on the shoulder'' when they arrived in Oakland. ''Everybody here has something to prove and they're going to work and we all know we have something left,'' new running back ...

Oakland Raiders' 2014 Training Camp to-Do List The Oakland Raiders have had an eventful and ultimately successful offseason. After adding several respected free agents and putting together an impressive draft class , the team looks to be vastly improved—at least on paper. Of course, that doesn't mean anything if the team can't fulfill that promise on the field. A successful training camp is absolutely crucial for the Raiders. With so many ...

Meet Andre Holmes, Oakland Raiders' WR Set to Breakout This Summer The Oakland Raiders ’ wide receiver position will see plenty of competition heading into the 2014 season, and Andre Holmes is one player who could emerge from it to have a breakout year. While the upside his physical tools gave him was undeniable, little was expected by way of production when the Raiders claimed him off the waiver wire in March 2013. Cut after a short stint with the New England ...

Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers Could Share Home Stadium The Oakland Raiders are having landlord issues. You know, the kind that make you want to move out and find new digs. Now, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has stepped in and suggested that the Oakland Raiders’ solution — or at least temporary solution — might be to find a new roommate. And who does the

Marcus Allen sees back Raiders in L.A. While the Oakland Raiders' longterm plans for a home are muddy as ever -- the powers that be seem more interested in getting something done first for Major League Baseball’s Athletics at O.co Coliseum -- a Raiders Hall of Famer thinks he can clear the waters. Marcus Allen, the franchise’s brightest star in the Raiders’ star-crossed 13-year sojourn in Southern California, can see his first NFL ...

Oakland Raiders' veterans out to prove they're not washed up yet (2014 NFL training camp) Oakland Raiders open training camp on Thursday. Check out some of the biggest questions facing the Raiders in their road to play with a "chip on their shoulder."

Team Report - OAKLAND RAIDERS Raiders establishing positive chemistry

Raiders training camp preview: Optimism abounds Oakland Raiders' Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen have reason to feel invigorated.

Marcus Allen: Raiders should return to L.A. Marcus Allen, the franchise's brightest star in the Raiders' star-crossed 13-year sojourn in Southern California, says he can see his first NFL team returning to Los Angeles.

A's, Oakland council sign off on 10-year lease extension A's owner Lew Wolff said Tuesday that the team had agreed to lease modifications inserted into the lease agreement last week by the Oakland City Council. The deal is expected to be quickly approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

Lyle Alzado
 Lyle Martin Alzado

Born: 1949
Died: 1992

Professional Football Player. He played for the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Raiders. A true defensive standout for the Broncos, he was the first Yankton (South Dakota) College player ever drafted by the NFL and was a two-time All-Conference pick. From those humble beginnings, his combination of quickness and strength provided him with the pass-rushing skills to start with the Broncos in 1971. His 4.75 40-yard dash time, coupled with his tremendous strength (he once had 27 wins as an amateur boxer) ranked him as one of pro football's top pass rushers. His status as a premier defensive lineman was also enhanced by his versatility - he played both end and tackle in the front four with All-pro status.

The 6-foot-3, 254-pound Alzado played 15 seasons at defensive end for the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Raiders. He was twice named All-Pro and compiled 97 sacks in 196 games.

A violent, combative player known for his short temper, Alzado was most comfortable with the renegade Raiders of the 1980s, helping them beat Washington in Super Bowl XVIII. But he also starred for Denver's "Orange Crush" defense of the 1970s, compiling 64½ sacks.

"The guy had a split personality," Raiders defensive end Greg Townsend said. "On the field, he had this tough image that he projected. Off the field he was the gentle giant. So caring, so warm, so giving."

But in 1992, seven years after playing in his last regular-season game, Alzado died from brain lymphoma, a rare form of cancer. He was 43. Although there is no medical link between steroids and brain lymphoma, Alzado was certain the drugs were responsible for his cancer. He became a symbol of the dangers of steroid abuse.

At the height of his steroid and human growth hormone abuse, Alzado estimated he spent $30,000 a year on the drugs, often buying them at gyms around the country. His second wife, Cindy, blamed the breakup of their marriage on his mood swings caused by steroids. She said she called police at least five times during their marriage because Lyle physically abused her, but Alzado was never arrested.

Alzado also admitted the steroids sometimes made him so crazy that at times he couldn't deal with social stress. "Once in Denver in 1979 a guy sideswiped my car," he said, "and I chased him up and down the hills through the neighborhoods."

After years of denying he used steroids, Alzado came clean in a cover story for Sports Illustrated in July 1991, three months after being diagnosed with brain cancer. "It was addicting, mentally addicting," Alzado wrote of his steroid use. "I just didn't feel strong unless I was taking something."

By the following spring, Lyle Alzado was dead.

He was born on April 3, 1949 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of an Italian-Spanish father, Maurice, and a Jewish mother, Martha. The family moved to Cedarhurst, on Long Island, when Lyle was 10.

Alzado endured family tensions. He described his father as a "drinker and street fighter" who left home when Lyle was a sophomore in high school. Martha worked as a florist, earning less than $100 a week. To help support his mother and four siblings, Alzado worked while in high school.

On the football field, Alzado was an aggressive defensive lineman at Lawrence High School, but he was no star. When he graduated, there were no scholarship offers waiting.

After Kilgore Junior College in Texas told Alzado he wasn't good enough for the football team in 1967 - Alzado later said his befriending an African-American teammate was to blame - he was accepted at Yankton College, a tiny NAIA school in South Dakota. It was here that Alzado began using steroids.

In 1970, a Broncos assistant coach had car trouble in Montana and decided to pass the time by watching Montana Tech on film. The opponent was Yankton, and Alzado performed impressively.

Denver made Alzado its fourth pick in the 1971 draft. He became a starter at defensive end as a rookie and soon emerged as a feared member of the defense. "My first year with the Broncos, I was like a maniac," Alzado said. "I outran, outhit, outanythinged everybody. All along I was taking steroids and I saw that they made me play better and better."

After his rookie season, Alzado went back to Yankton to get his college degree. He received a B.A. in physical education with an emphasis on secondary education. In 1972, Alzado led Denver with 10½ sacks and tied for the most tackles with 91. He set a Broncos record with 13 sacks in 1974, when he began a string of seven straight games with at least one sack, a streak that continued through the first game of 1975.

In 1977, he was named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year after leading the Broncos with eight sacks. In Super Bowl XII, a 27-10 loss to Dallas, Alzado and teammate Rubin Carter each had two sacks, becoming the first players in franchise history with multiple sacks in a postseason game.

After making the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year, Alzado - who had led the team in sacks in five of the last seven seasons - and the Broncos had a contract dispute. He flirted with the idea of becoming a pro boxer and in July 1979, he went eight rounds with heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in an exhibition. A month later, Alzado walked out of the Broncos' training camp. Management responded by trading him to Cleveland for draft picks.

Alzado's best season with the Browns was 1980, when he led the team with nine sacks. The following season he led the team with 8½. But that wasn't good enough to keep his career in Cleveland alive. Looking to dump salary, the Browns traded Alzado to the Raiders for an eighth-round draft choice in April 1982.

"A lot of guys on the Raiders asked me about steroids, and I'd help them get what they needed," Alzado said.

In a strike-shortened season, Alzado tied for the team lead with seven sacks, earning him honors as NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Against the Jets, he ripped the helmet off offensive tackle Chris Ward and flung it, prompting the NFL to create a rule outlawing helmet throwing.

In 1983, he had seven sacks in the regular season before getting 2½ in the Raiders' 38-10 rout of Pittsburgh in the divisional playoffs. The Raiders advanced to the Super Bowl, where Alzado promised to behead Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. That didn't happen (Alzado had no sacks), but he got a Super Bowl ring with the Raiders' 38-9 victory.

"I was so wild about winning," Alzado said. "It's all I cared about - winning, winning. I never talked about anything else."

After getting six sacks in 1984, Alzado was limited to only 11 games the next season, recording just three sacks. He retired after the campaign, attributing his use of steroids to the Achilles' tendon injury that forced his exit from the game he loved.

Pursuing an acting career, he appeared in 15 movies, all of them forgettable, such as Ernest Goes to Camp, Tapeheads and Club Fed.

In 1990, at 41, Alzado attempted a comeback with the Raiders. He suffered a knee injury in training camp, played in one exhibition game and was waived.

In March 1991, at the marriage to his fourth wife, Kathy, he couldn't walk a straight line. A month later, he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

In his account to Sports Illustrated, Alzado said he began taking anabolic steroids in college in 1969 and never stopped. "It wasn't worth it," Alzado wrote. "If you're on steroids or human growth hormone, stop. I should have."

After receiving a radical chemotherapy treatment and contracting pneumonia, Alzado died on May 14, 1992 at his home in Portland, Ore. The official cause of death was complications from brain cancer.

 


 

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