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Happy Birthday, Al... You Old So and So

ALAMEDA, CA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis speaks during a press conference to announce the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin of the Oakland Raiders at thier training facility on Septemer 30, 2008 in Alameda, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Paula LehmanCorrespondent IJuly 4, 2009

America isn't the only one having a birthday. Today owner, Al Davis, turns 80... and sorry to say it, but he looks it.

Many think Davis has gotten more crazy in his old age... some may even call him "senile." But one thing you have to give him is his consistency.

Al is old-school football. Look at this year's draft pick, Darrius Heyward-Bey. Heyward-Bey posted the fastest official time of 4.30 seconds at the combine, tying for the second-fastest time among receivers in this century, trailing Jerome Mathis' 4.28 in 2005.

Al loves the long-ball. He always has. And by drafting Heyward-Bey, he shows he's just the same old Al. Heyward-Bay can beat out just about anyone, making him a threat in the backfield.

Even after the defensive strategy of teams around the country adjusted to provide more coverage in the backfield, Davis continued calling for the long passes to his receivers.

Did it work? Well so far the team hasn't seen much success under Al's long-time strategy. The Raiders recorded 3,220 passing yards in 2008, putting them at No. 26 in the league.

Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin, who received higher grade and better numbers than Heyward-Bey, were nonetheless not fast enough for Al.

But Davis is determined to dominate the league. The one thing he admits he can't dominate, however, is getting old.

Davis' mother lived to be 103 and Al is no doubt trying to beat her record. Although in his old age, Davis is getting more nervous about the idea of death. In a 2003 press conference, weeks after the death of dear friend Sid Gillman, it was obvious the threat of dying was getting to him.

"Some people believe they can dominate anything," said Davis. "Although I'm finding you can't dominate death, that's for sure, or sickness, disease. But I'm trying."

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