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The recent passing of David Humm was significant not just for those who remember him in the late 1960s as a quarterback standout for Bishop Gorman High School.
John L. Smith remembers Humm, who later served as backup quarterback to the Oakland Raiders' Ken Stabler as they won two Super Bowls, as a gentleman and the ultimate teammate.
“This is a guy who saw what the game was all about and the game was all about being a good teammate,” Smith said.
As the backup quarterback, Humm had to learn all the opposition teams plays and then use them in practice against his team.
Smith said Humm's contribution to the Raiders didn't catch headlines but he made a contribution to a larger effort.
And he was with the Raiders team that really created the image of the team that is still around today.
Smith talked about Humm before his death, the result of multiple sclerosis. Humm told Smith he didn't want him to write some kind of sympathy column.
“'I don’t want another one of those 'I’m an inspiration' columns, John',” Smith remembers the Las Vegas legend saying.
Humm realized his disease might be related to a life playing football, but Smith added that many players stay with the game because it affords them opportunities they might otherwise never have.
“He paid a tremendous price to be part of the game,” Smith said, “There was an overwhelming sense with David that that price he paid was worth it.”
Humm's love for the game was evident as well, Smith said, as he played in an NFL era when the pay ranges were not in the millions of dollars, as they can be today.
“He was absolutely a gamer.”
And on this month's 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., Smith recounts King's visit to Las Vegas, as well as his words written from the Birmingham City Jail in 1963.
John L. Smith, longtime Las Vegas columnist, Nevada Public Radio contributor
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