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X Marks the Man in the Middle
Mark Mulvoy
September 22, 1975
The Superior Court of Alameda County, Department 14, was in session this summer in a third-floor room of the county administration building in downtown Oakland, listening to testimony in the case of Mendenhall vs. the Oakland Raiders et al.
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September 22, 1975

X Marks The Man In The Middle

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Mansfield once had to have his face mask extricated from Alex Karras' jersey, but he believes his best encounters were against Dick Butkus of the Bears. "It started back in college, when I was playing at Washington and Butkus was at Illinois," Mansfield says. "We had never liked one another from the beginning. Well, we go into Chicago for the opening game in 1971, and on Sunday morning I went down and bought the local newspapers for the first time in my career. There was this big spread on Butkus. 'MEAN DICK BUTKUS,' the headline read. There were 10 pages on Butkus. Ten pages. The story and the pictures showed how he prepared for a game and how he went to Mass, and all that. Then Butkus said, 'The first thing I see when I think about Pittsburgh is Ray Mansfield, and he's the holdingest SOB in the world. When I see Mansfield, all I see are two grimy hands. Mansfield taught me everything I know about big-time football, when I kicked his rear in a college game out in Seattle.'

"Butkus and I went at it all that afternoon, and we had good fun. Then I recovered a fumble and—crash!—there was this elbow buried in my neck. And here was this voice crying, 'That'll teach you, you dirty SOB.' It was Butkus, of course. I had the blind staggers and couldn't even find our huddle, but I told him, 'Dick, it didn't even hurt.' Hell it didn't."

Otto recovered a fumble a while ago, too, and after the game his wife Sally told him he should have picked up the ball and scooted for a touchdown instead of merely falling on it and holding on for dear life. "No way," he says. "I got my touchdown thrill when Marv Hubbard scored against the Lions last season. I grabbed the ball and set a record for the highest spike. I don't think the ball has come down yet."

Back in superior court Jim Otto's testimony ended hilariously during the cross-examination when the plaintiff's attorney tried to limit Otto's discourse in response to a direct question. As Otto rambled on, the attorney tried to confine his response to a narrow point. Otto moved forward in his seat, bringing the jurors forward with him. "Hey, wait a minute," he snapped, "you wanted the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God, and I'm going to give you the whole truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

"Your honor," said the defense attorney, "I have no further questions."

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