Tom Flores: Family, Football, Life

Former Raiders head coach talks up the NFL lockout and his storied past.

Former Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Flores entertained an intimate crowd Tuesday on the .

Flores told stories of his upbringing on a ranch near Fresno in the 1940s, his days as an Academic All-American at College of the Pacific, continuing through his pro football career to today. 

One of the early messages that Flores sent was one that came from his formative years. 

“Its what my father and mother and mother told me ... that if you want something, you roll up your sleeves and go to work. You find a way to get things done.” 

Flores always found a way to get things done. 

He toiled in Canada to get his pro football career started, and later was cut by the Washington Redskins, but Flores kept hope. Then one day his phone rang. 

“I got a call from a guy who was starting a new football league, they called it the AFL," Flores said. "I told them I hadn’t thrown a ball in months, since I was working as a graduate assistant. But he told me there was a team going into Oakland. The Oakland Senors. I thought I’d give it one more try.” 

Flores tried out, and became the first quarterback for the team, which was quickly renamed The Raiders. 

On his playing days, Flores said San Francisco’s Candlestick Park was a horrible place for football because of the winds.

"We had a punter once kick a ball, and the wind pushed it back over his head.” 

Flores also talked on his relationship with Raider Owner Al Davis.

“He’s maligned and misunderstood. And one of my best friends,’’ Flores said. “He’s the kind of person that was the first to phone when my wife was ill, and would do extraordinarily kind things to complete strangers.”

The crowd was most enthralled by the question period, when they peppered Flores with questions from his Raiders days, and questioned him about the current state of the NFL. 

Flores believes the current NFL lockout will be resolved once the players or owners get hit in the wallet.


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