My love of watching athletic competition on any level and the simple act of supporting a friend’s daughter participating in a weekend High School Track & Field meet in Southern California converged into a chance meeting with Raiders Legend Greg Townsend.
Beyond the occasional face plants, hurdles being knocked down, and runners collapsing from exhaustion I witnessed the kids put forth a strong effort in various events awaiting my friends daughter’s event.
I had no advance acknowledge that Greg was going to attend the event but on a rather cold afternoon for Southern California, 48 degrees with 35 mph winds very close to the coast it happened. Prior to both of us donning our hoodies due to the wind while looking over the crowd I recognized him.
A few moments later, there I am, face-to-face with one of my favorite players, Raider legend Greg Townsend. I stepped to him, introduced myself, and told him that I was a die hard Raiders fan and obviously a fan of his.
He greeted me with a handshake and a smile. We spoke and I told him that I missed watching him play. He responded “all good things come to an end.” I had to mention to him that I felt he was the best Defensive End in Raiders history.
Some Raider fans might argue about that and even say Howie Long was the best. I love Howie Long and enjoyed watching him play for the silver and black as well as being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
But when you consider Greg Townsend holds the team records for games played (190), Sacks (107.5), and Tackles (338) he is second to Charles Woodson in forced fumbles with 13, my statement is justified.
He is in good health and running a football camp called “The Lineman Combine” teaching kids how to play both offensive and defensive line positions and how to play the game the right way.
What better way to learn to play the game of football than having hands-on teaching from a guy who was selected to the Pro Bowl twice, a guy selected All-Pro four times, a guy who is 15th on the NFL all time career sacks list and a Super Bowl champion.
Stay tuned Raider fans, I will track him down again and interview him and talk Raiders football in "The Locker Room".
Photo Credit: A. Chatman