SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Oakland Raiders Pro Bowl defensive end and TV personality Ben Davidson died this week of prostate cancer at 72.

“He was a Raider,” John Madden told the KCBS morning crew. “You just think of the faces of the Raiders over the years and if you put a montage together of all these faces, Ben Davidson would have been one of the faces of the Raiders, and rightly so.”

Madden was not only Davidson’s coach, but later appeared with him in Miller Lite commercials.

“He was one of the real good guys. Ben probably did more for charity than anyone I know. Kids loved Ben and Ben loved kids… We had all those stars. We had Lamonica and Blanda and Stabler and Biletnikoff and Cliff Branch and Upshaw and Shell and all these guys. And you’d walk anyplace and kids would always be yelling, ‘Big Ben! Big Ben! Big Ben!'”

Davidson died the night before a three-day Raiders reunion in Las Vegas to celebrate the birthday of the late Raiders owner Al Davis.

“Every player was invited that played from 1963 on,” John said. “I think it’s the first time that’s ever happened in football. It could be the first time it’s ever happened in sports.”

John traveled to Vegas on the Madden Cruiser to be there. “To have that many people invited and that many people come, to be able to sit around and tell stories, it was just great. It’s probably never been done before and will probably never be done again.”

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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