In this Dec. 18, 1963 file photo, Al Davis, center,...

In this Dec. 18, 1963 file photo, Al Davis, center, head coach of the American Football League's Oakland Raiders, talks with players at the team's home practice field in Oakland, Calif. Davis, the Hall of Fame owner of the Oakland Raiders known for his rebellious spirit, has died. The team announced his death at age 82 on Saturday. Credit: AP

Al Davis was one of the NFL's most influential owners, but the Raiders have mostly been a disappointment since I started covering the NFL in 1985.

I'd written a number of critical columns about the team in that time, although Davis had never reacted to any of them.

But one day at an owners' meeting -- I think it was around 2000 or shortly before -- Davis saw me during a break in the meetings and said, "Hey, why do you keep hitting me in the papers?''

Somewhat flustered, I said, "Well, your team hasn't won many games, so what do you want me to write?''

He replied, "Take it easy, would you? My mother reads your paper.''

Rose Davis lived in Long Beach at the time.

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