Former Ohio State and Oakland Raiders great Jack Tatum passed away from a heart attack today, at the age of 61.
Tatum, rightly or wrongly, will mostly be rememberd for the hit that paralyzed New England Patriots wide receiver Daryl Stingley. Tatum was widely criticized for the hit and for never apologizing. Gannett’s Mike Lopresti has a good take on the whole situation here.
At Ohio State Tatum hadn’t really earned that reputation. He entered OSU as a running back as a member of a class that would win the national title in 1968.
Tatum came to OSU as a running back but was moved to defensive back, supposedly due at the request.
While Tatum became a vicious hitter in the pros, but much of his reputation was publicity and how Tatum embraced his “Assassin” persona and his association with the Raiders, widely considered the league’s renegade team. Off the field, Tatum was considered a kind man by most of his teammates and friends.