Ben Davidson had a way of getting everyone's attention, be it with his 6-foot-8 frame, handlebar mustache or cross-country motorcycle riding.
Those who played football against Davidson had no choice but to pay attention or risk being flattened by one of the game's premier defensive ends during the 1960s. After his playing days were done, he remained in the spotlight with a slew of acting roles.
Davidson died Monday after a lengthy battle with cancer at the age of 72, according to Raiders owner Mark Davis and former teammate Tom Flores.
Davidson wasn't the most talented Raider, Flores said, but everyone was well aware of his presence on the field.
"Ben was the epitome of what a Raider is: loyal, service to the community and a big persona," Flores said by phone. "He did things in his own style and had a charisma of his own."
Davidson didn't gain fame right away. Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi traded him in 1962 after only one season. The Washington Redskins waived Davidson after two more undistinguished seasons.
Al Davis, who was the Raiders' coach at the time, signed Davidson in 1964 and made him an integral part of a team just hitting its stride.
It didn't take long for Davidson's peers to recognize his potential, even if it wasn't realized right away.
"Ben Davidson was the best physical specimen I'd ever seen," former Packers guard Jerry Kramer told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last year. "Six-foot-8,
Davidson was with the Raiders from 1964-71, playing in 110 games with them before injuries ended his NFL run. He made the All-AFL team in 1967.
"He was larger than life to me," Mark Davis said by phone. "The handlebar mustache, the motorcycle-riding. He was a rebel. ... (He was) one of so many unique individuals on the Raiders."
Davidson planned on being part of a celebration of Al Davis' life in Las Vegas later this week, according to Mark Davis. The elder Davis died in October.
Former Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett joined the team long after Davidson retired, but the two became acquainted over the years.
"I got to know what a lovable, fun-loving guy he was," Plunkett said by phone. "He was a terrific human being. Down to earth, solid as a rock. He'll be sorely missed. He was part of that culture-making group of guys for the Raiders. He's one of the guys who epitomizes the Raiders of the '60s and '70s."
When Al Davis signed Davidson, he finally got his hands on the player he wanted while coaching at USC a few years earlier.
Davidson's style of play made him a favorite of his teammates and fans, if not his opponents.
He played hard, fast and recklessly, often taking down quarterbacks with tackles around the head and diving into players at the end of plays.
"I don't think I'd make it in the NFL today," Davidson said in reference to his reckless style of play.
In a game against the Kansas City Chiefs in 1970, Davidson speared quarterback Len Dawson at the end of a play. That prompted Chiefs wide receiver Otis Taylor to go after Davidson and played a huge role in stoking the rivalry.
Even Davidson's teammates were forced to be on guard.
"If you make a tackle and Ben is not laying next to you, duck, because here comes Ben," former Raiders defensive lineman Carleton Oats said.
Davidson played basketball and dabbled in track and field in high school. He didn't take up football until he attended East Los Angeles College.
"I just decided that I'd try it," Davidson told the Los Angeles Times a few years ago. "I didn't know the positions. I knew the center was probably in the middle, but I'd only been to one or two games ... and I never really paid much attention to it. ...
"I have no idea what kind of stance I got into, but that was a major project. The coach had me so fixated on getting a good stance that I'd be looking down at my legs, trying to make sure everything was right, and they'd snap the ball."
Davidson progressed well enough to be selected by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the NFL draft out of the University of Washington, though he was dealt during training camp to the Packers.
Davidson's fame continued long after his football career ended, working as a Miller Lite pitchman.
"I was a geography major in college, so I love to travel," Davidson told the Journal-Sentinel. "Greenland, Guam, Korea, Panama, Honduras -- you name it. We signed autographs and met people and drank beer. I made more money doing that than playing pro football."
Davidson also appeared in a handful of movies and TV shows.
"I've been very lucky in life," he said. "One thing I've always said is get on a good team and play hard. I've had a lot of fun along the way, and I've tried to give back for getting paid to play a kid's game."
Davidson is survived by his wife, Kathy, and three daughters, Jan, Dana and Vicki.