Dave Dalby "Double D"

The Great Commission

Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Oakland Raiders Great
Dave Dalby

Written by Susan Yahnian

In the world of sports…only a few men truly have the ability to play football. And even less make the transition to the NFL. But those who achieve renowned success are the ones that grace the pages of history.

I met such a man in May of 1999- on a bench at the beach in Capistrano Beach, Calif. His name, Dave Dalby; "Double D," #50- who played in 205 consecutive games from 1972-1985.

The only center in Raider history to win three Super Bowl Championships. One of only 6 men to do so. Dave had a profound effect on my life. I had the privilege of being with him for over three years. I knew him well enough to learn and read as much as I could about him.

This addiction had a stronghold on his life. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says," For the weapons of our warfare (our daily lives) are not of the flesh but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (strongholds)."

Dave felt his career was coming to an abrupt end-coupled with bad news a few weeks before his passing. These two pivotal moments in his life were probably the most agonizing for him.

This letter told of the lies that Satan tells us all to rob us of the joy that God has for us. God wanted Dave to get to a point in his life where he would look to the Lord for the answers, not to himself. Tiffany realized as she wrote this letter that it wasn't orchestrated by herself, but through divine intervention by the Holy Spirit.

I found that he never missed a game (maybe once, but I think it was a practice game) that he played with every fiber of his being.

And that he conquered everything and everyone that hit him. (Except Mean Joe Green!) He was humble and never felt comfortable being admired. Dave was always the first player in the locker room and the last one to leave.

In his off time he was the recreational "Ringmaster" to all of his teammates. Dave was well liked and became known as the "The King of Fun." Camaraderie was his motto. "Those who played together, stayed together." 

In October of 1999- Dave was inducted in UCLA's "Hall of Fame." I was with him that night and will never forget how proud and honored he felt. All of us there that evening will never forget his humble speech. And his gratitude for the people in his life that helped him get there.

I had the evening video taped. Unfortunately, he never got to see it. Dave also knew the agony of disappointment.
It’s known that Dave had an addiction to alcohol. I am very sensitive to the fact that no one seems to ever want to address these issues with athletes or celebrities. But alcohol and drugs dramatically affect players in their lives.

In January of 2002, Dave was in need of a liver transplant. All of the pain in his life, the glory and physical endurance it took to be a great player had taken its toll. He began to realize it. On August 25th, Dave received an unusual and powerful letter from my daughter Tiffany.

It was a letter of hope… and most importantly God's love for Dave. It spoke of the talents that God had given him, God's forgiveness and the importance of relying on Him for the strength that he now so desperately needed.

She was just the messenger. The letter went on to say that “the Lord gives everyone a purpose in life, everyone. Yours, (meaning Dave's) is here now. There are so many people that love you that I don't even think you realize that.

There are thousands and thousands of people that would be touched by your life and completely saddened by your death.
Dave, you have an incredible chance to help not just one or two but many. Jesus just wants you to accept Him as your Lord and Savior.”

Dave read this letter every day starting on August 25th. As August 30th approached, God knew his destiny was about to begin. God knew all about him and He knew his heart. The last disappointment in his life was a financial betrayal by a family member that pierced his heart!

I could never have prepared myself for the love and the loss that I was about to experience. In just three short years, on August 30th 2002, at Capistrano Beach
, just 50 yards from "our bench." God chose to free Dave from any more pain.

When you accept Jesus into your life- ask for forgiveness… start having a relationship with Him. And you will secure a place for yourself in heaven.

So, what defines "greatness"? Man says greatness comes from what you can do on your own. God says greatness comes from acknowledging your weaknesses and accepting Him as your Lord.

Dave's heart had softened to that realization. He began to go back to church and really hear what the pastor was saying. We would talk about every sermon. Dave accepted Jesus and acknowledged his need for Him.

God knew just two days later Dave would be at the foot of Christ! In Jeremiah 29:11,12,13 God says," For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for greatness, not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." “Then you will call upon me and come and pray with Me, and I will listen to you.” You will seek Me and find me with all of your heart."

As with Joel 2: 32," Whoever calls on the name of the Lord, he shall be saved." Revelations 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will no longer be any mourning or crying or pain."

Dave loved me, his family and especially his two children. As a Christian, I know someday I will see this great man again. And get a chance to see his wonderful smile. In Jesus Name!

Special Thanks to Rick Warren
and Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California; for their generous donation and production of the Dave Dalby video.

Dave was definitely a team player in his playing days his testimony as one of the Oakland Raider greats has become God's field of dreams in heavens promise for all who believe in His Son as Lord and Savior.

May God
bless Dave's family and comfort those who seek the Spirit of truth may every one of you be blessed in viewing  this video in his memory.

Pastor Mando Leon
In Jesus Name
"Keep the faith"