SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -At NFL training camps around the country, Bill Walsh was remembered for his keen eye for talent and innovative approach to offense.
``Bill was blessed with one of the greatest gifts you can have which is the ability to see the future potential of another human being,'' said Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who joined Walsh's San Francisco 49ers as a backup to Joe Montana and later became the starter and a Super Bowl MVP.
Walsh died at his Woodside, Calif., home Monday morning following a long battle with leukemia. He was 75.
Walsh's proteges are all over the NFL, including Seattle coach Mike Holmgren, who led the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl win after getting his start as an assistant under Walsh with the 49ers.
``He took a chance on me. I was four years removed from a high school coach. It usually doesn't work that way,'' Holmgren said before receiving word of Walsh's death.
``He looked at how to put everything together and how to do it differently. I always said he was an artist and the rest of us were blacksmiths pounding the anvil while he was painting the picture.''
Former Miami Dolphins Coach Don Shula called Walsh ``a great competitor.''
``The offensive philosophy he installed in those great 49ers teams more than 25 years ago will remain his legacy and is still very much a part of the NFL to this day,'' said Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history.
Fellow Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy was hired to coach California in 1960 and happened upon Walsh when he was putting together his staff. Levy spoke to a coach at San Jose State, who recommended Walsh, then head coach at Fremont's Washington High School.
Levy, 81, who would later go on to become the winningest coach in Buffalo Bills history, hired Walsh to be Cal's freshmen coach.
``I couldn't predict 'Oh, he's going to be in the Hall of Fame someday.' But I could see right away how bright he was,'' said Levy, remembering his first interview with Walsh. ``I just sensed that this guy is uniquely bright.''
Oakland Raiders running backs coach Tom Rathman, who played for Walsh's 49ers, said Walsh was a demanding coach.
``His presence put pressure on you,'' Rathman said. ``I mean, when he walked out of that locker room, it was all about football, getting your minds right. But that's just the personality he had and the impact he had on a team.''
Cowboys and former 49ers receiver Terrell Owens never played for Walsh, but the former coach was still around the team when he was in San Francisco.
``When you talk about a Hall of Fame coach, a guy who's won Super Bowls, for me just to have the opportunity to speak with him and be around him on an every day basis when I was in San Francisco was definitely an honor,'' Owens said.''
Walsh's first signature victory in the NFL came in 1982, when his upstart 49ers beat Tom Landry's Cowboys in the NFC championship game, thanks to the ``The Catch'' - Dwight Clark's winning touchdown reception from Montana in the final minute.
``His offensive philosophies changed the game in the 1980s, and his influence helped so many of his assistant coaches move on to the next level,'' current Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. ``He was a wonderful contributor to this league, and his impact will be felt for years to come.''
Associated Press writers Josh Dubow in Napa, Calif., and John Wawrow in Buffalo, N.Y. contributed to this report.

Recent NFL Discussions

2017 NFL Draft Grades on Sun, Apr 2017 by Blade
Betting the 2017 NFL Draft on Tue, Apr 2017 by Blade
NFL Draft Preview on Tue, Apr 2017 by Blade
2017 Heisman Odds on Wed, Mar 2017 by Blade
College / NBA today on Sun, Mar 2017 by TtomBoBadly

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail NFL Draft Prop Odds The 2017 NFL Draft gets underway later tonight. Here is a look at some of the featured prop odds for tonight’s first round.
Thumbnail Alabama NFL Draft Odds The Alabama Crimson Tide could have a lot of players taken in the first round of the NFL Draft next week. How many...
Thumbnail Odds Theory & Fantasy: Perfect Combo In America alone over 110 million people settled down to watch February’s Super Bowl and were rewarded by a game which saw many twists and turns along the way. Of...
Thumbnail Romo moving to CBS After a lot of discussion about where Tony Romo will be next season, it appears that he will be behind a broadcast booth.

NFL Team Pages