“When I was a kid, my father told me that you can always trust the tough guys. There is no one who ever personified that more than Chuck. Chuck was a tough guy. He was an extremely bright guy and an extremely good man. A wonderful friend.” — Heath Bray, as quoted by Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona, following the passing of former Desert Swarm standout Chuck Osborne on Tuesday night.
Bray played and coached at Arizona during Osborne’s time with Arizona from 1992-95 and lived in the same Phoenix neighborhood at one time. Bray messaged me Wednesday that he was to visit Osborne in La Jolla, Calif., in the first weekend of November for what would have been Osborne’s 39th birthday on Nov. 2.
“He was one of my closest friends,” Bray told me. “I am just stunned. … Terrible.”
Bray posted a message on Osborne’s Facebook wall about where fans can view Osborne’s Raiders jersey in Phoenix:
“For those of us who live in Phoenix, Scottsdale area. Ten years ago Ty Parten, me and Chuck gave our jerseys to Mark Goldman of Zipps and Goldies who hung them in his restaurant. Anyone that eats at Goldies can go by and see Chuck’s Raiders jersey hanging proud in the middle. Thanks to Mark and his family for honoring his legacy.”
Former Oakland coach Jon Gruden told me in a 1998 interview when the Cardinals played the Raiders that Osborne played “like a pit bull.”
“From all accounts, Chuck was like a pit bull, a fighter in the World League,” Gruden told me when I worked for The Arizona Daily Star. “He definitely separated himself from others with his tenacity and work habits. Signing him was like signing somebody in the early rounds of the draft.”
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner