Alzado Meets With Davis, Retires Again : Raiders: Injuries hampered his comeback at age 41, but he showed some flashes of old form.
Lyle Alzado’s comeback ended Tuesday when the 41-year-old defensive end retired after meeting with Raider owner Al Davis.
“I just hope I didn’t let anybody down,” Alzado said. “I didn’t want to disappoint anybody. I just wanted to perform well. The people who were skeptical about it, I wanted them to at least see that I was capable of it.”
Alzado, who was placed on the reserve-retirement list, said he made his decision after an emotional hourlong meeting with Davis Monday night. Alzado said Davis cried during the meeting.
“(Davis) explained to me that he thought I was very capable of playing and that I proved that Friday night (during the Raiders’ 20-3 victory over the Bears in Chicago),” Alzado said. “He said I had a whale of a game, but the fact remains that we have young players we have to develop for the future. With that, he got some tears in his eyes.”
Alzado also said Davis left the door open for his return, promising Alzado that he’d be the first one the Raiders would call to replace an injured player.
Asked if he would consider trying to make another team, Alzado said: “That’s a tough shot. My feelings for Al Davis and the Raiders are a little unusual, obviously. If someone else called me, depending on who it was and the situation, I might consider it. It just depends.”
Alzado spent Tuesday alone, reflecting on his aborted comeback. “I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any tricks that could have caused this.”
His return was hampered because he missed three weeks of practice after undergoing arthroscopic surgery for torn cartilage in his right knee July 27. How much did the surgery hurt his comeback?
“I don’t really know,” Alzado said. “I don’t really think it would have made that much of a difference because my recovery period was only three weeks. I don’t know how much they would have played me in those other three exhibition games anyway.”
Making his debut against the Bears Friday, Alzado intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter, but the play was nullified because he had jumped offsides. He made no tackles in the game.
Alzado, who was trying to come back after a five-year retirement, thinks he accomplished something.
“I wanted to at least open the door to the minds of people that athletes aren’t through when they’re 30,” Alzado said. “There are athletes who, if they take care of themselves and train the proper way, can play well into their late 30s and early 40s and even their mid-40s. You can be 40 and still be playing, especially in pro football because it’s such a specialized game.”
The other Raiders said they were sorry to see Alzado go.
“Through this whole ordeal, I think there were a lot of people who thought it was a joke and that he wasn’t serious about it,” nose guard Bob Golic said. “But we as players knew otherwise. We saw the type of work he did to get prepared. He wanted to prove something to himself. And no matter what the outcome was, I think he achieved some of his goal.