McCallum has had a successful journey
Napoleon McCallum’s journey this week reflects the direction and accomplishments of his football career.
On Tuesday, McCallum was in New York being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. On Sunday, McCallum will be in Carson City with former Raiders teammate Frank Hawkins.
McCallum and Hawkins will be at Joe Bob’s Hot Springs Road House, 1510 Hot Springs Road, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Both players will be on hand to sign photos, personal memorabilia and pose for photos during the Oakland Raiders versus Miami Dolphins game, which will be televised on several TVs.
From 1981-1985, McCallum accumulated more than 7,100 yards of total offense with the Naval Academy. He was recognized for achievements at Navy when he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this week.
Among those he was inducted with were Dan Marino, Ronnie Lott, another former Raiders teammate, Kellen Winslow and Reggie White.
“It was just a fantastic time for me,” McCallum said. “It was just a thrill for me.”
In 1986, McCallum was able to serve as an officer in the Navy and play with the Los Angeles Raiders at the same time. McCallum was stationed in Long Beach, giving him the chance to play with the Raiders.
He would work a full shift with the Navy Monday through Friday and then join the Raiders’ practices every day after finishing his duties with the Navy. The Navy would give him the weekends off so he could be with the Raiders for their games.
“It’s something that everybody who plays Little League to high school football, they dream of playing in the pros,” said McCallum about why he made the commitment to play in the NFL and serve in the Navy right out of the Naval Academy. “I really didn’t want it to get away.”
The Raiders and Al Davis were understanding when he had to show up for their practices late after finishing his duties with the Navy, McCallum said.
“They worked really well together,” said McCallum about the Navy, Raiders and Davis. “We did what we had to do to try to make it work and make it happen.
“They wanted to make it work, especially Mr. Davis. He really went out on a limb to draft me and bring me to the Raiders. I really appreciate the opportunity he gave me.”
In 1986, McCallum was a backup running back to Marcus Allen while Hawkins was a fullback. Hawkins, a graduate of the University of Nevada, was with the Raiders from 1981-87. He recently was inducted into the Nevada Sports Hall of Fame. He works and resides in Las Vegas.
McCallum said he depended heavily on Hawkins. “Frank told me where to go a lot of times,” McCallum said. “Frank was a big help. He basically said just follow me.
“He’s just a great student of the game, a wise old man. He was just an awesome blocker. He just hurt people. Those are my memories of Frank.”
His time at the Naval Academy prepared him for the commitment he made with the Raiders and the Navy in 1986, McCallum said.
“It was a great experience for me,” said McCallum about his time at the Naval Academy. “It was a tough experience. It wasn’t the funnest experience.
“There was a lot of getting yelled at and all that kind of stuff. It molded me into the kind of person I am now.”
After 1986, McCallum finished his five-year commitment with the Navy and rejoined the Raiders in 1990 where he played until 1994. In the season opener on Monday night in 1994, he suffered a career-ending injury against the San Francisco 49ers.
Now, McCallum said he still considers himself to be part of the Navy and Raiders families.
“We just got to get the Naval Academy to win a little more and the Raiders to get to the Super Bowl and we’ll be set,” McCallum said.
The Raiders’ legacy is legendary, McCallum said. He also said he feels fortunate to be a part of it.
Part of what makes the Raiders’ legacy so great is their fans, McCallum said. He said enjoys tailgating with fans and spending time with the infamous “Black Hole” at games.
McCallum lives in Las Vegas where he owns Digital Pro Graphics, which produces signs and graphics for the casino and convention industries.
For information on Sunday’s event, call 720-4333 or 450-7128.