We continue our look at the Oakland Raiders' top 5 free-agent signings of all time with John Matuszak checking in at No. 4 ...
Sure, Matuszak was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1973 NFL draft, but he already had worn out his welcome with not only the Houston Oilers, but also Kansas City and Washington before the Raiders decided to kick the tires on a defensive end who was just as talented as he was tormented in 1976.
"Kansas City and Washington, they could not handle the Tooz, but he fit right in with us," said former teammate and linebacker Phil Villapiano. "He was the missing piece that we needed to solidify our defense. I loved playing next to that monster -- total muscle, loved to hit, needed a job, knew it was his last stop. He was the perfect Raider."
The 6-foot-8, 272-pound Matuszak may not have always been on his best behavior in Oakland -- his self-described breakfast of champions consisted of vodka and valium -- but the Raiders did win a pair of Super Bowls with him on the left side of the line. In 87 games with the Raiders -- before the sack became an official stat -- he forced four fumbles and caused endless sleepless nights for opposing quarterbacks.
"Closest thing to being a lion or a cheetah or a hawk that there is," Matuszak said of football to NFL Films. "It's the most beautiful, but the most brutal game in the world."
He retired with a bad back after the Super Bowl XV victory in which he broke curfew in New Orleans' French Quarter. His excuse? He was out late to make sure no one else on his team was out late. Get it?
Matuszak began to make a splash in Hollywood. Remember "Caveman" with Ringo Starr? What about Sloth, in "The Goonies?" Yes, that was him.
Sadly, his personal demons seemed to catch up with him as he died at the age of 38 on June 17, 1989, of an accidental overdose of a prescription drug.