One of Troy Dickey’s last posts on Facebook was about his father Eldridge Dickey on Christmas Eve celebrating his late dad’s birthday.
“Happy Birthday Pops!!! The world misses your wisdom and love dad… You would be so proud of your grandkids dad!!! They are writing beautiful chapters to the Dickey legacy. Everyday they honor your spirit with their life choices and share the love you’ve taught us all. Until we meet at our Father’s table and drink the fruit of the vine…We love you and Happy Birthday!!!”
Troy and his father Eldridge are together again in spirit. Troy, a receiver at Arizona in 1992 and 1993, has passed away at age 46 after suffering a stroke, the same tragedy that took Eldridge’s life in 2000.
Troy’s death comes four days after the passing of former Arizona teammate Warner Smith, who succumbed to his battle with ALS.
The picture with Troy’s Facebook message was a fitting one of his dad at his finest as a player, throwing a pass as an Oakland Raiders rookie quarterback in 1968. Eldridge had great promise as a quarterback leading Tennessee State to an unbeaten record and the National Black College Football Championship in 1966. He was the first black quarterback drafted in the first round in 1968, when the Oakland Raiders selected him.
Sports Illustrated ran an article mentioning Eldridge “might become the first black quarterback to play as a regular in professional football.”
The Raiders converted Eldridge to a receiver instead his rookie season, after sticking to second-round draft pick Ken Stabler as the starting quarterback.
Eldridge made just one catch for 34 yards and had six punt returns for 48 yards in 11 games as a rookie. His next action was not until 1971 when he made four catches. He was cut from the Raiders seven games into the season after dropping a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs that could have been a touchdown.
He had trouble coping with not playing quarterback professionally. He reportedly felt he never received a fair opportunity to play that position and that led to drug and alcohol abuse. He cleaned himself up later in life and became a minister.
Troy suffered his stroke on Dec. 28 after traveling to Glendale to watch his son Brayden play for Washington in the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State. A picture was posted on Facebook of him with Brayden on Christmas night while celebrating Fiesta Bowl activities.
Brayden recently changed his last name to Dickey after going by “Lenius”, his mother’s maiden name. He lived with his mom Shauna Lenius after she moved to Vancouver following her divorce with Troy.
Brayden is one of 10 children Troy leaves behind along with his wife Cara. One son, Kailab Dickey, resides in Tucson after attending Marana High School and Pima Community College.
Many of Dickey’s former Arizona teammates took to social media to express their sorrow and offer a tribute to the former standout receiver, who was recruited to Arizona in 1992 by Dick Tomey after two All-American seasons at Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College.
Joe Salave’a, now an Oregon assistant, posted on Twitter that Dickey’s death is “TOO MUCH!!” reflecting on the recent deaths of Smith and former teammates Mu Tagoai and Pulu Poumele. Tagaoi died in November after battling cancer and Poumele passed away on June 4, 2016, after suffering a heart attack.
TOO MUCH‼️ Prayers Up to former college teammate Troy Dickey and his family‼️ Rest Easy my Brother. May your soul rest in Love & Peace💯 TD, WS, MT, PP luv all of you🕊🕊
Mathew 5:4 pic.twitter.com/Q6sOCfln6F
— Joe Salave'a (@CoachJsalavea) January 6, 2018
Pueblo High School coach Brandon Sanders, a teammate of Dickey’s while part of the Desert Swarm defense as a safety in the early 1990’s, tweeted, “My man was ahead of his time at the WR position.. 6’4 230 in the early 90s.. I will miss you my Wildcat brother.. the smiles, the memories of our 1 on 1s.. just helping me grow.. RIH Troy Dickey.”
My man was ahead of his time at the WR position.. 6’4 230 in the early 90s.. I will miss you my Wildcat brother.. the smiles, the memories of our 1 on 1s.. just helping me grow.. RIH Troy Dickey 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/TEdzvxlKDn
— Brandon Sanders (@coachBSanders18) January 6, 2018
Dickey was working as a consultant for young football players in Texas. Included in his testimonials at the Web site CoachUp.com, was a comment by former Arizona assistant coach Duane Akina mentioning that “despite having a legendary father, Troy was still eager to learn different philosophies from others.”
“Troy has a genuine heart for training the youth,” Akina wrote. “With safety being a huge point of emphasis, as well as the artistry of the game, Troy has found great success in the coaching experience. Continue making the difference Troy.”
The difference Troy makes now will be in spirit for his family, friends, teammates, coaches, and the young prospects he touched along the way.
He is together once again with his dad at the “Father’s table.”
“The Lord’s Prayer” was read during Eldridge’s funeral. That was his nickname at Tennessee State when he became one of the greatest college quarterbacks in history. Expect the prayer to be heard at Troy’s ceremony.
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.