Former Pro Bowl safety Jack Tatum, one of the most colorful and controversial players in Oakland Raiders history, died Tuesday. He was 61. Tatum was also a football legend at Ohio State University.
Tatum was renowned as one of the hardest hitting db’s in NFL history. Nicknamed “The Assassin,” his hit on Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sammy White during the Raiders victory in Super Bowl XI is an NFL Films classic. However, Tatum was most known for his hit on New England Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley. In August of 1978, in an NFL preseason game, Tatum nailed Stingley head-on aas he was extending for a pass catch. As a result, Stingley was paralyzed and remained a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. When he died in 2007, doctors attributed Stingley’s death to lingering injuries from Tatum’s hit.
Although several Raiders (including coach John Madden) visited Stingley in the hospital, he and Tatum never reconciled. Tatum never saw him spoke with Stingley after the hit.