Fooch's Note: The 49ers released several statements on Al Davis' passing. I've posted them after the jump.
As most everybody is aware at this point, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis passed away earlier today. While the Raiders and 49ers were rivals, it is still impossible not to recognize Al Davis for his importance to developing the NFL. To some he had become a bit of a punchline in recent years, but I don't think that should detract from his contributions throughout the years.
Al Davis actually has some 49ers connections as one of Bill Walsh's first coaching job was with the Raiders under Al Davis. It's a modest connection but it got Bill Walsh in the door. Davis also brought Jim Harbaugh in for his first NFL job from 2002 to 2003. LIttle connections like that are always interesting to consider.
Now that Al Davis has passed on, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Raiders. The controlling interest remains in the Davis family, but it's definitely not the same anymore. How that impacts the ownership of the franchise, the potential for a shared stadium, and numerous other issues will be intriguing to follow in the coming months and years.
RIP Al Davis.
Statement from San Francisco 49ers Owner and Co-Chairman Denise DeBartolo York
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Al Davis. One of my fondest memories of Al is a dinner we shared many years ago. During that meal, he presented my father with a very special opportunity to purchase the San Francisco 49ers. In recent years, we were pleased to spend time with Al as our guest in the Owners' Suite at Candlestick Park while our two teams met on the field. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends."
Statement from San Francisco 49ers Owner and Co-Chairman John York
"The Bay Area and NFL communities have lost a true pioneer in Al Davis. The significant contributions that he made to the game of football at every level spoke volumes about his commitment to excellence. We enjoyed working with Al at the league level on the development and growth of our game, and at the team level we appreciated the competition between the 49ers and his Raiders. Al Davis commanded great respect from those he worked alongside and all he competed against.
Statement from 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke
"Anybody who enjoys the game of football owes a tip of the cap to Al Davis. The numerous contributions that Mr. Davis made to the development and growth of the NFL played an integral role in making the game as great as it is today. Although this is a very sad day in the NFL and the Bay Area, it is a great time to reflect on what Mr. Davis has meant to this sport as well as our community."
Statement from 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
"Mr. Davis is a titan and pillar of the game. I had the pleasure and honor to know him and to work for him. And to me, he is the greatest. The autumn wind will always be a Raider."