Lyle Elevated (Born April 3, 1949 - died May 14, 1992) was a defensive football player for the National Football League (NFL). He was famous for his intimidating and intense style of play (Knight, 2003).
He played for 16 seasons, in which he was in the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Raiders with whom he won a championship in the Super Bowl XVIII (Jewish Journal, 2007).
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Alzado was born in Brooklyn, New York, fruit of the relationship of an Italian-Spanish father and a Jewish mother (Google News, 1978). When he was ten years old, his family moved to Cedarhurts, Long Island.
His father, whom Alzado later described as a"drinker and quarrelsome"left the family during Lyle's second year at Lawrence High School (ESPN, 2003). Alzado played American football in high school and was a candidate for the Vardon Trophy at his school for three years (Google News, 1978).
After not receiving a college scholarship offer, Alzado played for Kilgore University, a public university in Kilgore, Texas. After two years, they asked him to leave the team. He then confessed that it was because he had a colored friendship (ESPN, 2003). Alzado moved from Texas to Yankton University in South Dakota, a university that now houses a federal prison.
Despite playing almost anonymously at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes, Alzado caught the eye of the NFL when a Denver Broncos talent scout saw a match at Yankton University by chance (Google News, 1978). Impressed by Alzado's abilities, he sent a report to his team (ESPN, 2003).
The Broncos selected him in the fourth round of the 1971 Draft. Alzado returned to Yankton after his rookie season to earn his college degree. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education.
With the Denver Broncos
When one of the titular defenders was injured in 1971, Alzado took the position and managed to be in several equipment of the best rookies by his 60 tacles and 8 catches. The following year, Alzado began to draw national attention when he had 10 catches along with 91 tackles. In 1973, Alzado achieved excellent numbers when the Broncos had a positive record for the first time in their history with a score of 7-5-2.
In 1974, Alzado raised more looks when a publication named him as one of the best players of the American Confederation of American Football, with numbers of 13 sacks and 80 tacles. He was recognized as one of the best defenders of the league, along with Elvin Bethea, Jack Youngblood, Cark Eller among others. That year, the Broncos finished their second consecutive winning season 7-6-1.
In the season of 1975 there were statutory changes, being Elevated moved to the position of tacle defensive, responding with 91 tacles and seven catches. That season was minor numbers for Alzado and the Broncos, who finished with a record of 6-8. In the first play of the 1976 season, Alzado injured his knee and missed that campaign.
1977 was the most successful season for the franchise in its history. The Broncos had one of the best defenses of the NFL, finished with a record of 12-2. They then defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders to make it to Super Bowl XII.
In that game they were won by the Dallas Cowboys. It was a year of growth for Alzado, who was voted one of the league's best players by consensus, in addition to winning the AFC award to the defensive player of the year. Ultimately, he led the Broncos with eight sacks and 80 tackles (Knight, 2003).
In 1978, the Broncos qualified for the postseason, but lost in the showdown with that year's champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Alzado had 77 tacles and nine catches and recorded his first safety in the NFL.
He was chosen among the best players of the league for the second time and of the best players of the American conference. In 1979 he had a dispute in his contract and the Broncos changed it to the Cleveland Browns (Knight, 2003).
Elevated, in his first year in Cleveland, he had 80 tackles with seven sacks (Knight, 2003). The following year, the Browns won the AFC central division, but lost to the Raiders in the divisional round. In 1981 it suffered some injuries and at times its concentration in the game was diminished by problems of its private life, nevertheless registered 83 tacles and led to the Browns in captures with 8. In spite of this, its equipment it changed to the Oakland Raiders in 1982 (Flores, 2003).
Los Angeles Raiders
After being ruled out by the Browns, Alzado returned to hard work and won the NFL's return of the year award, although he had played all season in 1981 (Porter, 1995). In the season of 82 cut by the strike of players, Alzado in nine games registered seven catches and 30 tacles and was voted like one of the best players of the American conference.
Lyle continued his good walk with the Raiders in the 1983 season, helped them take the Super Bowl with a record of 7 sacks and 50 tackles. The following season had an exceptional campaign with 63 tacles and 6 catches. In 1985 their tackles and catches were reduced by a mid-season injury (Porter, 1995).
Alzado retired at the end of the 1985 season. He attempted to return in 1990, but was injured when he injured his knee in training camps (Los Angeles Times, 1990). In 196 games he had 112 catches, forced 24 turnovers and had around 1000 tackles.
Use of steroids and their death
Alzado was one of the first major figures in American sport to admit the use of anabolic steroids. In the last year of his life, while fighting a brain tumor that caused his death, Alzado claimed that his abuse of steroids led to his illness (Weinberg, 2007). Alzado told about his abuse of steroids in Sports Illustrated:
"I started taking anabolic steroids in 1969 and never stopped. It was addictive, an addiction to the mind. I stumble when I walk and I have to hold on to someone not to fall. I also have trouble remembering. My last wish? Let no one else have to die like this." Now I'm sick and I'm scared. Ninety percent of the athletes I know also use them. We are not born to weigh 140kg or jump 9 meters. But every time I took the steroids, I knew they were making me play better. I became very violent inside and outside the field. I did things that only the crazy ones do. Once someone brushed his car with mine and I beat him up. Now look at me, I have no hair.
The role that anabolic steroids played in Alzado's death has been the subject of controversy. Brain lymphoma that led to death has not been clinically associated with steroid use. This was declared as a myth in the 2008 documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster And by pediatrician and steroid expert Norm Fost of Wisconsin, who has ties to the steroid industry (Think Steroids, 2012).
Alzado died on May 14, 1992 at age 43 after a fight against brain cancer. He was buried at River View Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.
- ESPN. (23 December 2003). ESPN Classic. Recovered on December 19, 2016, from ESPN Classic.
- Flores, F. (2003). Tales from the Oakland Raiders. Sports Pub.
- Google News. (October 15, 1978). Daytona Beach News Sunday Edition . Recovered December 19, 2016, Daytona Beach News Sunday Edition
- Jewish Journal. (27 December 2007). Jewish Journal. Retrieved on December 19, 2016, from Jewish Journal
- Knight, J. (2003). Kardiac Kids, the story of the 1980 Cleveland Browns. Ohio: Kent State University Press.
- Los Angeles Times. (11 May 1990). Los Angeles Times . Recovered December 20, 2016, Los Angeles Times
- Porter, D. (1995). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports. Greenwood Publishing.
- Think Steroids. (February 2, 2012). ThinkSteroids.com . Retrieved on December 20, 2016, from ThinkSteroids.com
- Weinberg, R. (2007). Foundations of sports and exercise psychology. Human Kinetics.