Assassin’s Last Stand: The Lost Tatum Interview

Jack Tatum died today of a heart attack in Columbus, Ohio. He was 61. The former Oakland Raiders defensive back was best-known for his 1978 preseason tackle of former New England Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley. The hit left Stingley paralyzed from the neck down for life. Stingley died a quadraplegic of heart disease and pneumonia in 2007.

Jack Tatum

Some of Tatum’s last, extensive comments about Stingley were made to former BERGEN (NJ) RECORD reporter Adrian Wojnarowski in 2003. Wojnarowski’s piece containing Tatum’s remarks is no longer available online, so I’ve reprinted it below.

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Though Paralyzed, Rodney Rogers Stays Strong

“We went riding dirt bikes. And going through the trail, I kind of hit a ditch and it flipped me over the handlebars. I thought I had my hands down. But I didn’t. Fell on my head. Broke my neck.”

Rodney Rogers

Sometimes you’ve got to let stories speak for themselves. That’s the least we can do for Rodney Rogers, who gave his first interview after being paralyzed from the shoulders down in a dirt bike accident in November. Unlike athletes who suffer serious injuries while playing, Rogers never got the media attention afforded to people like Darryl Stingley or Dennis Byrd. But that’s OK with him. There was always much more to Rogers than his NBA career.

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