No matter how long you are a member of the Oakland Raiders, you are immediately ingrained in the rich history as soon as you don the Silver and Black. You are a part of the team, but even bigger than that, you are a part of the family.
Unfortunately, Raider Nation lost a member of that family when former running back George Atkinson III unexpectedly passed away this week at the age of 27. Atkinson was an undrafted rookie free agent that the Raiders signed in 2014.
Although he did not spend a ton of time in Oakland, he still came to be close with a number of players, including Derek Carr. Carr recently expressed his condolences and talked about how great of a person Atkinson was, via Eddie Paskal of Raiders.com:
“I’ll just start by saying, with everything going on with football and all those kinds of things, I just wanted to send our prayers to Mr. Atkinson [II],” Carr stated. “George was a teammate of mine. It’s crazy how quick life can come at you, and I love George. We had a lot of fun playing basketball at 24 Hour Fitness, as well as playing football games together and competing together. He was also so joyful, man. So happy, every single time. He was cut and re-signed a whole bunch of times, and every single time he just looked so thankful to be here. I just wanted to say that we’re thinking about him and his family, and that we love him.”
Despite his cheerful demeanor, Atkinson did have his fair share of hardships. His mother suffered from substance abuse, which affected his and his twin brother Josh Atkinson’s childhood. They were eventually put under the care of their father, former Raiders defensive back George Atkinson II.
With their father at their side, the twins excelled and were offered scholarships to Notre Dame, where Atkinson totaled 943 rushing yards in three years. Unfortunately, Josh committed suicide last Christmas shortly after the passing of their mother.
Atkinson was a special teams player during his time with the Raiders, returning seven kickoffs for 134 yards. He bounced around the league, until spending the entirety of the 2016 season with the Cleveland Browns. As Carr said, the Raiders family will be keeping the entire Atkinson family in their thoughts moving forward.