The Seattle Seahawks are saying goodbye to a man who was like a grandfather to many of the players. The team's longtime facilities manager, 65-year-old Dale Cramer, lost his battle with cancer on Thursday morning.
Almost immediately, players past and present started tweeting about how much they'll miss him.
Russell Wilson's tweet said "We will miss you Dale Cramer. You will forever be a major part of our Seahawks hearts. We love you and will be forever grateful."
Pete Carroll, Earl Thomas, Doug Baldwin, Walter Jones, Matt Hasselbeck, and many more also tweeted out their condolences.
At the team's headquarters in Renton, the 12th man flag hung at half-mast in Cramer's honor. Staffers told KING 5 that Cramer had been the one to proudly raise that flag every day.
They say Virginia Mason Athletic Center won't be the same without him.
"He is a special man," said Seahawks Equipment Manager Erik Kennedy, who considered Cramer a close friend. "He has touched so many players and coaches. He'll never be forgotten here."
Cramer had been with the Seahawks since 2007.
In July of 2013, he was diagnosed with cancer. He still made it to almost every single game this season, even when the illness started taking its toll. His colleague say he wanted nothing more than to see his team win a Super Bowl. He was able to travel with the team and be there as they secured the championship.
"It's great that he had a chance to partake in all the festivities," said Maurice Kelly, a former Seahawks player who is now the Director of Player Development. "Now you look back and its even more precious now."
Both Kelly and Kennedy say Cramer was someone you could rely on for anything. He could fix any and every piece of equipment, and would do anything to help a player in need.
"He is the nicest human being that anybody has ever met," said Kennedy. "I know people say that, but this man truly has the biggest heart of anybody I've ever met."
Cramer leaves behind a wife, two adult children, and a granddaughter, with a second grandchild due to arrive later this year.
In lieu of flowers, Cramer's family has requested donations be made in his honor to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Crown Hill Methodist Church, or The Union Gospel Mission.