In life, there is a thing they call kismet. Happenstance. Or, just plain destiny. In this case, the multitudes of uniqueness that begin to explain former BYU linebacker Spencer Hadley–but don’t really tell the whole story–can now be exhibited in an Oakland Raiders uniform.
Hadley, the 6-foot-1-inch, 227-pound physical specimen that even BYU fans love to hate, signed a free agent deal on Wed. August 6 with the Raiders, the team that most of the NFL loves to hate. In one sense, it’s a match made in Heaven. You have Hadley, himself no stranger to controversy–and you have the Raiders. Enough said there.
Both make headlines and both do strange things. Hadley gets wild at an off-limits Las Vegas nightclub in the off-season, going off-his-rocker–and the Raiders do, well, whatever the Raiders do. Hadley sports a mustache at a private religious school that doesn’t allow ‘staches–even ones as thick and luscious as his. The Raiders, who don’t really have a home because, well, they’re the Raiders, well, they’re looking for a home.
If it seems confusing to everyone, well, that’s because with Hadley and with the Raiders, life is like a box of chocolates that may or may not contain traces of poison. One minute, Hadley is belligerent, knocking the head off of someone coming across the middle–and the next he’s drawing accolades as a solemn, reverent human being making sense to hardened convicts at the state prison.
Nothing makes any sense–yet everything does. Hadley doesn’t get drafted by anyone–for obvious reasons–and in a sea of NFL free agents, the New Orleans Saints pick up this BYU castaway in May. Later, the Saints cut him for no apparent reason.
The Raiders, known the world over for picking up various forms of degenerates, cast-offs and riff raff freaks of nature that no other NFL team would ever dream of considering, then picked up Hadley on Wednesday. According to NBC Sports, Hadley was the last player the Raiders selected for their 90-man pre-season roster. In the circle of life, there are things that happen–sometimes for a reason.
Of course there was another guy from BYU who played for the Raiders, sported wild hairdos and thick, luscious mustaches and used reverent language. His name was Todd Christensen, the late, great tight end who quoted famous authors, was a walking encyclopedia and happened to play in the NFL for 10 years before going on to a successful broadcasting career.
Like Hadley, Christensen grew up the product of hard-working parents from the Pacific Northwest, Christensen himself from Oregon–Hadley from Washington’s Palouse. Hadley has yet to publicly comment on his signing with Oakland. But, an excerpt from a TV interview Christensen did many years ago may shine some light on why a hard-working but misunderstood kid from BYU might still have a chance to make the impossible become possible with the Raiders–the one team in which Hadley fits better than most will ever know.
“I realize that this is the dream of millions and yet I was living it out. My father had instructed me many years ago that there was only one sin, and that was the sin of ungratitude. … The son of a University of Oregon professor and a homemaker probably had no business being on this stage.”
The rest of that story? Well, now it’s Hadley’s to write.