Jim Otto played first for
at Wausau High School, then at the
University of Miami as a center and
linebacker, setting the school record for career
Otto wasn't drafted in the NFL; no team in that league was interested in the undersized center, so he signed with the AFL's Oakland Raiders and was issued uniform #50 for the AFL's inaugural season, 1960. He switched to his familiar #00 the next year, the number permitted by the AFL because his jersey number 00 is a homonym pun of his name (aught-O). Jim Otto worked diligently to build his body up to his normal playing weight of 250 pounds.
For the next fifteen years Jim Otto became a fixture at center for the Raiders, never missing a single game due to injury ó and there were many of them. Including pre-season, regular season and post-season games, Otto competed in 308 total games when, arguably, for the sake of his body, he should have retired far sooner.
To this day, Jim Otto embodies the toughness and determination the Raiders began to exemplify in the mid-1960s when Al Davis took control of the team.