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Football News Headlines

2021

NOTE: The intent of the News Section is not to dwell on negative stories that are more suited to be found in the Police and Crime Section of your local newspaper, but to report and document stories that cover the entire realm of The World of Football. Chances are, you may not have seen some of these stories before.


 

News Archives  

 

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September

(Obituary) September 17, 2021 - Roger Brown, a defensive end in the NFL for 10 seasons, dies at the age of 84. Brown played college football at Maryland-Eastern Shore and was selected in the fourth round of the 1960 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He played in Detroit from 1960-1966 and finished his career with the Los Angeles Rams from 1967-1969. In 1962, Brown helped the Lions defense record a franchise-record 11 sacks against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day. Brown recorded seven sacks himself. He played on the Lions and the Rams versions of the Fearsome Foursome. Brown was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009, the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Pride of the Lions in 2018.

(Obituary) September 13, 2021 Parys Haralson, a defensive end in the NFL for nine seasons, dies at the age of 37. The cause of death was not immediately known. Haralson played college football at Tennessee and was selected in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played for the 49ers from 2006-2012 and finished his career with the New Orleans Saints in 2013 and 2014.

(Obituary) September 11, 2021 Mick Tingelhoff, a center in the NFL for 17 seasons, dies at the age of 81. Tingelhoff played college football at Nebraska and signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Vikings. He played his entire career with the Vikings from 1962-1978 and never missed a game. He started 240 consecutive regular season games and played in four Super Bowls. Tingelhoff was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. His number (53) has been retired by the team and he is also a member of the team’s Ring of Honor.

(Obituary) September 7, 2021 Rick Arrington, who was a quarterback in the NFL for three seasons, dies at the age of 74. Arrington played college football at Georgia and at Tulsa. He went on to play in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1970-1972.

(Obituary) September 7, 2021 Sam “Bam” Cunningham, a running back in the NFL for nine seasons, dies at the age of 71. Cunningham played college football at USC and won a college football national championship with the Trojans in 1972. He was the eleventh overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He played in New England from 1973-1982, but sat out the 1980 season because of a contract dispute. He retired as the team’s all-time leading rusher with 5,453 yards. Cunningham was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992. He was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1992, the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Patriots Half of Fame in 2010. His brother is former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham.

(Obituary) September 7, 2021 Terry Brennan, a college football running back and later a head coach, dies at the age of 93. Brennan played college football at Notre Dame and won back-to-back college football national championships in 1946 and 1947. He was selected in the fifth round of the 1949 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, but he decided to coach high school football in Chicago and earn a law degree instead. He was hired as the freshman football coach at Notre Dame in 1953 and promoted to head varsity coach the following year. He replaced legendary Irish coach Frank Leahy. Brennan, who was just 25 years old at the time, spent five seasons as the head coach of the team from 1954-1958 and posted a record of 32-18.

(Obituary) September 4, 2021 Tunch Ilkin, a tackle in the NFL for 14 seasons, dies at the age of 63. Ilkin played college football at Indiana State and was selected in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played for the Steelers from 1980-1992 and finished his playing career with the Green Bay Packers in 1993. He returned to the Steelers and spent 23 years in the broadcast booth as a color analyst for the team. Ilkin is schedule to be inducted into the Steelers Hall of Fame later this year.

(Obituary) September 3, 2021 Robert Wetenhall, a former CFL and NFL team owner, dies at the age of 86. Wetenhall was a part owner of the Boston Patriots of the American Football League and later the NFL New England Patriots. In 1997, he stepped in to save the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League when they were in dire need of money. The Baltimore Stallions had moved to Montreal in 1996 after winning the Grey Cup to become the new Alouettes team. But just a year later, the team was in bad financial shape. Wetenhall became the team owner, paid off all the overdue bills and stayed with owned the team until May of 2019. Under his ownership, the team played in eight Grey Cups games and won three of them in 2002, 2009 and 2010.

(Obituary) September 2, 2021 David Patten, a wide receiver in the NFL for 12 seasons, dies in a motor cycle accident at the age of 47. Patten played college football a Western Carolina. He began his pro career with the Albany Firebirds of the Arena Football League in 1996. He then signed with the New York Giants and played for the team from 1997-1999. He also played for the Cleveland Browns in 2000, the New England Patriots from 2001-2004, the Washington Redskins in 2005 and 2006 and the New Orleans Saints in 2007 and 2008. Patten won three Super Bowl titles with the Patriots.  

(Obituary) September 2 2021 Keith McCants, who played linebacker and defensive end in the NFL for six seasons, dies of a suspected drug overdose at the age of 53. McCants played college football at Alabama and was the fourth overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played for the Buc from 1990-1992. He then played for the Houston Oilers in 1993 and 1994. He was traded to the Arizona Cardinals during the 1994 season where he finished his playing career in 1994 and 1995.

August

(Obituary) August 30, 2021 - Junior Coffey, a running back in the NFL for five seasons, dies at the age of 79. Coffey played college football at Washington and was selected in the seventh round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He played just one season with the Packers in 1965 and then played for the Atlanta Falcons in 1966, 1967 and part of 1969. He was traded to the New York Giants mid-way through the 1969 season. He played one more season with the Giants in 1971.

(Obituary) August 30, 2021 Cecil “Cy” Souders, who played end and tackle in the NFL for three seasons, dies at the age of 100. Souders played college football at Ohio State and was selected in the 25th round of the 1945 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, but he never played for Washington. Instead, he played three seasons for the Detroit Lions from 1947-1949. He was the NFL’s oldest living alumni. Souders was inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

(Obituary) August 21, 2021 Nick Volpe, who was a halfback and kicker in the Canadian Football League for four seasons, dies at the age of 95. Volpe played college football at the University of Toronto. He then played for the CFL Toronto Argonauts from 1949-1952. He won two Grey Cup title as a player in 1950 and 1952. He kicked two field goals in the 1950 game, which was known as The Mud Bowl. In later years, Volpe was the head of Canadian scouting for the Argonauts. He is a member of the University of Toronto Athletic Hall of Fame.

(Obituary) August 21, 2021 Floyd Reese, dies of cancer at the age of 73. Reese played linebacker in college at UCLA. From 1971-1974, Reese was an assistant coach in college at UCLA and at Georgia Tech. He then moved on to the NFL where he was an assistant coach for the Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings and Houston Oilers through 1989. From 1994-2006, he was the general manager of the Oilers and continue in that role when they became the Tennessee Titans. Reese will be inducted into the Titans Ring of Honor on September 26.

(Obituary) August 20, 2021 Mark Hamister, a former Arena Football League owner, dies at the age of 69. Hamister was a business man in Buffalo, NY when he bought an AFL franchise, which became known as the Buffalo Destroyer. The team played for six seasons, from 1998-2003.

(Obituary) August 16, 2021 John Pease, an assistant coach in college, the USFL and the NFL, dies at the age of 77. Pease started out as an assistant coach in college at Utah, Fullerton Community College, Long Beach State and Washington between 1968 and 1982. He then spent three seasons in the USFL with the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars, winning two USFL titles in 1984 and 1985. He then became an assistant coach in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints from 1986-1994 and the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995-2002. He returned to the Saints in 2004 and 2005 and finished his coaching career back in college at Utah in 2009, 2010 and 2015.  

(Obituary) August 15, 2021 - Leonard Thompson, a wide receiver and halfback in the NFL for 12 seasons, dies at the age of 69. Thompson played college football at Oklahoma State and was selected in the eighth round of the 1975 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He played his entire career in Detroit from 1975-1986.

(Obituary) August 15, 2021 - Dick Schafrath, who was a tackle in the NFL for 13 seasons, dies at the age of 84. Schafrath played college football at Ohio State and won a college football national championship in 1957. He was selected in the second round of the 1959 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and played his entire career with the Browns from 1959-1971. He won an NFL title with Cleveland in 1964. He went on to serve in the Ohio Senate from 1986-2003. Schafrath was inducted into the Browns Legends Club in 2003. His nickname was “The Mule” and in 2006, he published his autobiography titled, "Heart of a Mule." 

(Obituary) August 15, 2021 Joe Walton, a head coach in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 85. Walton was an end and defensive end in college at the University of Pittsburgh and was selected in the second round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He played in Washington from 1957-1960 and for the New York Giants from 1961-1963. He then went into coaching. He was an assistant coach with the Giants, Redskins and New York Jets before becoming the head coach of the Jets in 1983. Walton coached the Jets for seven seasons, through 1989. He signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was an assistant coach in 1990 and 1991. Walton finished his coaching career as the head coach at Robert Morris University for 20 seasons, from 1994-2013.

(Obituary) August 12, 2021 Roger Harring, a longtime college football head coach, dies at the age of 88. After spending 10 years coaching at the high school level, Harring spent 31 seasons as the head coach at Wisconsin-La Crosse from 1969-1999. He posted an overall record of 261-75-7 and won three national championships. The first one came in 1985 when the school played at the NAIA level. The second came in 1992 after the school moved to the NCAA Division III level, making it the first school in college football to win an NAIA title and an NCAA Division III title. Harring added a third Division III title in 1995. He won 15 conference titles and had 14 playoff appearances. Harring was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

(Obituary) August 9, 2021 Craig Ogletree, who was a linebacker in college and in the NFL, dies from complications of COVID-19 at the age of 53. Ogletree played college football at Auburn and was selected in the seventh round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He only played one season in the NFL (1990) and then returned to Auburn to finish his degree. He went on to become a pastor in Georgia.

(Obituary) August 8, 2021 Bobby Bowden, the legendary college football coach, dies at the age of 91. He was a head coach in college for 47 seasons. His first head coaching job was at South Georgia Junior College from 1956-1958. He then became the head coach at FCS Howard College (his alma mater, which is today known as Samford University) from 1959-1962. He was the head coach at West Virginia from 1970-1975 before taking over as the head coach at Florida State in 1976. Bowden led FSU for 34 seasons from 1976-2009. FSU went to 28 consecutive bowl game from 1982-2009 and won 11 consecutive bowl games between 1985 and 1995. He was named National Coach of the Year six times (1979, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1999). Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

(Obituary) August 7, 2021 Larry Swider, who was a punter in the NFL and the USFL, dies at the age of 66. Swider played college football at the University of Pittsburg and won a college football national championship in 1976. He was selected in the seventh round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, but he left the team during training camp over a disagreement with the special team’s coach. He signed with the Detroit Lions and played one season in Detroit in 1979. He then played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1980 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1981 and 1982. He then played in the United States Football League for two seasons, first with the Pittsburgh Maulers in 1984 and then with the Jacksonville Bulls in 1985.

(Obituary) August 4, 2021 Robert “Bo” Scott, who was a running back in the CFL and the NFL, dies at the age of 78. Scott played college football at Ohio State and was selected in the third round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was also selected in the 20th round of the 1965 AFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He decided to sign with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League. He played in Ottawa for five seasons, from 1964-1968 and won a Grey Cup title in 1968. He then signed with Cleveland, where he played from 1969-1974. He scored the first ever rushing touchdown on Monday Night Football.

(Obituary) August 2, 2021 - Pete Schabarum, a halfback in the NFL for three seasons, dies at the age of 92. Schabarum played college football at California and was selected in the second round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played for the 49ers in 1951, 1953 and 1954, taking the 1952 season off to serve in the Air Force during the Korean War. After his brief NFL career was over, he went into politics and spent decades serving in several different political positions in Los Angeles.  

July

(Obituary) July 26, 2021 Joe Taffoni, who played in the NFL for six seasons, dies at the age of 76. Taffoni played college football at West Virginia. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1967 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played guard and tackle in Cleveland from 1967-1970 and finished his playing career with the New York Giants in 1972 and 1973. After retiring as a player, Taffoni went on to coach high school football n New Jersey.  

(Obituary) July 22, 2021 Greg Knapp, a longtime assistant coach in the NFL, dies after being struck by a car while riding a bicycle at the age of 58. Knapp played quarterback in college at Sacramento State and became an assistant coach at the school from 1986-1994. He went on to be an assistant coach in the NFL from 1995-2020 with the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos. He won Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos. Knapp was hired this past offseason to be the passing game coordinator of the New York Jets.    

(Obituary) July 20, 2021 Chuck McMann, who was a player and coach in the Canadian Football League, dies at the age of 70. McMann was a running back and tight end in college at Wilfred Laurier and was selected in the third round of the 1976 CFL Draft by the Montreal Alouettes. He played for the Alouettes from 1976-1981 and the Montreal Concordes from 1982-1985. He won a Grey Cup title with the Alouettes in 1977. He then went into coaching. He was an assistant coach with the Calgary Stampeders from 1992 to 2000 and won two Grey Cup championships with the team in 1992 and 1998. McMann was also an assistant coach with the CFL British Columbia Lions from 2008-2015 and won a fourth Grey Cup in 2011. He also spent time as a college head coach in Canada at the University of Waterloo from 1988-1991 and at McGill University from 2001-2006. He is a member of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks Hall of Fame.

(Obituary) July 17, 2021 Ellis Rainsberger, a coach in college, the CFL and the USFL, dies at the age of 88. Rainsberger played college football at Kansas State. He was the head football coach at NAIA Washburn University from 1962 to 1964, winning a conference championship in 1964. He also was a head coach at Southern Illinois in 1966 and at Kansas State from 1975-1977. He was the offensive coordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League from 1978 to 1982. He spent the 1983 season as an assistant coach with the Denver Gold of the USFL. In 1984, he was interim head coach of the USFL Pittsburgh Maulers for the second half of the season. Rainsberger also spent time as an assistant coach at Drake University (1959–1961), the University of Kansas (1965), the University of Illinois (1967–1972), the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1973–1974), and the University of Toledo (1989–1991). He had also been a scout in the NFL for the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins before he retired in 2007.

(Obituary) July 17, 2021 Jim Shofner, who was a head coach in college and a longtime assistant coach in the NFL, dies at the age of 85. Shofner played college football at TCU and was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1958 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played defensive back for the Browns from 1958-1963. He then went into coaching in the NFL. Between 1967 and 1996, he was an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Houston Oilers, Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Cardinals, Phoenix Cardinals and Buffalo Bills. He also spent time as the head coach at TCU from 1974-1976. Shofner was inducted into the TCU Hall of Fame as a player in 1981.

(Obituary) July 12, 2021 Alex Gibbs, a longtime assistant coach in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 80. Gibbs started out coaching at the collegiate level beginning in 1969 at Duke. He also coached at Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio State, Auburn and Georgia. He then became the offensive line coach of the Denver Broncos from 1984-1987 and from 1995-2003. He won back-to-back Super Bowls with the Broncos in 1997 and 1998. He also was an offensive line consultant for Denver in 2013. Gibbs also served as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Raiders (1988-1989), San Diego Chargers (1990-1991), Indianapolis Colts (1992), Kansas City Chiefs (1993-1994), Atlanta Falcons (2004-2006) and Houston Texans (2008-2009).

(Obituary) July 10, 2021 Greg Clark, a tight end in the NFL for four seasons, dies at the age of 49. Clark played college football at Stanford and was selected in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played for the 49ers from 1997-2000.

(Obituary) July 10, 2021 David Carter, a guard and center in the NFL for nine seasons, dies at the age of 67. Carter played college football at Western Kentucky and was selected in the sixth round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. He played for the Oilers from 1977-1984 and was traded to the New Orleans Saints midway through the 1984 season. He retired after the 1985 season with the Saints.

(Obituary) July 9, 2021 Van Heflin, who played in the USFL, dies of a heart attack at the age of 62. Heflin played college football at Vanderbilt and was the school’s first black starting quarterback in 1978. He was selected in the eighth round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and converted to a tight end. Unfortunately, he did not make the team. He did play for the Memphis Showboats of the United States Football League as a tight end in 1984 and 1985.

(Obituary) July 4, 2021Dickey Maegle, a halfback and defensive back in the NFL for seven seasons, dies at the age of 86. Maegle played college football at Rice University and was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 1955 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.   He played for the 49ers from 1955-1959, the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1960 and the Dallas Cowboys in 1961. Maegle was in the inaugural class of inductees into the Rice Athletics Hall of Fame in 1970, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979 and was an inaugural member of the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 1998. Maegle is best known as the man who was tackled in the 1954 Cotton Bowl by an Alabama player who came off the bench to save a touchdown. Alabama was penalized for the illegal tackle and Maegle was awarded the touchdown anyway.

(Obituary) July 4, 2021 Willie Dee Quinnie Jr., a wide receiver who played in NFL Europe, the CFL and the Arena Football League, dies at that age of 40. Quinnie played college football at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. In 2004, he played for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe. In 2006 and 2009, he was with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. In 2007 and 2008, Quinnie was with the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League and he finished his playing career with the Alabama Vipers of the Arena Football League in 2010.

(Obituary) July 4, 2021 Don Dobrino, a running back who was drafted by an NFL team, dies at the age of 86. Dombrino played college football at Iowa from 1954-1956 and was selected in the 10th round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. However, he chose to play baseball and spent five years playing in the minor leagues. He went on to be a high school teacher and coach.

(Obituary) July 4, 2021 Terry Donahue, a head coach in college and a GM in the NFL, dies at the age of 77. Donahue was the head coach at UCLA from 1975-1995. He was the first college coach to earn bowl game victories in seven consecutive seasons, from 1983 to 1989. He has the most wins of any coach in Pac-12 history (98) and also the most victories in UCLA history (151). After he retired from coaching, Donahue worked game broadcasts for CBS, Fox and the NFL Network. He also served as the director of player personnel for the San Francisco 49ers in 1999 and 2000 and as the team's general manager from 2001 to 2005. Donahue was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1997 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. The press box at the Rose Bowl was named for him in 2013. 

June

(Obituary) June 30, 2021 Bob Newland, a wide receiver in the NFL for four seasons, dies at the age of 72. Newland played college football at Oregon and was selected in the seventh round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He played for the Saints from 1971-1974. 

(Obituary) June 28, 2021 Joe Clark, a head coach in college and in the pros, dies at the age of 88. Clark played quarterback in college at Santa Clara State. He became an assistant coach with the Cleveland Browns under head coach Paul Brown. In his 50+ year coaching career, he also spent time as a college coach at Tulane, TCU, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern and Nichols State. Clark also coached with the Charlotte Hornets of the World Football League, the Jacksonville Bulls of the USFL, and the NFL Green Bay Packers. He even coached with the Montreal Machine and the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe.

(Obituary) June 25, 2021 Don Bowen, an offensive lineman in college, dies at the age of 84. Bowen played college football at Iowa from 1955-1957. He was on the team that won the Big Ten Conference in 1956 and beat Oregon State in the Rose Bowl 35-19.

(Obituary) June 21, 2021 - Tuufuli Uperesa, a guard and tackle in the NFL and the CFL, dies at the age of 73. Uperesa played college football at Montana and was selected in the 16th round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played for the Eagles in 1971 and then went north of the border to play in the Canadian Football League. In the CFL, he played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1973 and 1974, the Ottawa Rough Riders and Calgary Stampeders in 1975, another season in Ottawa in 1976 and the British Columbia Lions in 1977.     

(Obituary) June 23, 2021 - Bill Byrne, a guard in the NFL, dies at the age of 80. Byrne played college football at Boston College and was selected in the fourth round of the 1962 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played just one season with the Eagles in 1963.

(Obituary) June 23, 2021 - Eldon Danenhauer, an offensive tackle in the American Football League for seven seasons, dies at the age of 85. Danenhaurer played college football at Emporia State and at Pittsburgh State. He signed with the Denver Broncos and played his entire NFL career with the Broncos from 1960-1965 and was named one of the top 5 Bronco offensive tackles of all time.

(Obituary) June 15, 2021 Ron Saul, a guard in the NFL for 12 seasons, dies at the age of 73. Saul played college football at Michigan State and was selected in the fifth round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. He played six seasons in Houston from 1970-1975 as well as six seasons for the Washington Redskins from 1976-1981. He had two brothers, Rich Saul and Bill Saul, who also played in the NFL.

(Obituary) June 14, 2021 Hessley Hempstead, a guard in the NFL for three seasons, dies at the age of 49. Hempstead played college football at Kansas and was selected in the seventh round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He played in Detroit from 1995-1997.

(Obituary) June 11, 2021 Leroy Jones, a defensive end in the NFL and the CFL, dies at the age of 70. Jones played college football at Norfolk State. He left school early and signed with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League where he played for two seasons in 1974 and 1975. When he was finally eligible for the NFL Draft in 1975, Jones was selected in the second round by the Los Angeles Rams. He ended up being traded to the San Diego Chargers a year later where he played his entire NFL career from 1976-1983. He played on a Chargers’ defensive unit known as “The Bruise Brothers.”

(Obituary) June 8, 2021 Bert Bell, Jr., dies at the age of 85. He was the oldest son of Bert Bell, the founder of the Philadelphia Eagles and later a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was also an assistant to his father when he was the commissioner of the NFL and also to Pete Rozelle, who succeeded his father as NFL commissioner. Bell Jr. later was the business manager of the Baltimore Colts from 1961—1966. 

(Obituary) June 7, 2021 Jim Fassel, a head coach in college, the NFL and the UFL, dies at the age of 71. Fassel played quarterback in college at Long Beach State and was selected in the seventh round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He played for The Hawaiians of the World Football League in 1974 and 1975 and then spent the next eight years as an assistant coach in college at Utah, Weber State and Stanford. He was the offensive coordinator of the USFL New Orleans Breakers in 1984. Fassel returned to the University of Utah and was the head coach from 1985-1989. He became an assistant coach with the New York Giants in 1990 and was head coach of the team from 1997-2003. He was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1997. From 2004-2007, he was as assistant coach with the Baltimore Ravens. Fassel finished his coaching career as the head coach of the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League from 2009-2012 and won UFL titles in 2009 and 2010.

(Obituary) June 7, 2021 Pete Ohler, a quarterback in the Canadian Football League for five seasons, dies at the age of 80. Ohler played college football at Vancouver College and also at the University of Washington. He signed with the British Columbia Lions and played for the team in 1964 and 1965 and again from 1967-1969. He led the team to a Grey Cup win in his rookie season of 1964. Ohler went on to coach at Vancouver College, the University of Richmond and the University of British Columbia.

(Obituary) June 6, 2021 Rick Mohr, who played defensive end in the CFL and the USFL, dies at the age of 61. Mohr played college football at California-Davis. He played for the CFL Toronto Argonauts in 1982 and 1983, winning a Grey Cup with the Argos in 1983. Mohr then spent the 1984 season in the USFL with two different teams, the Oakland Invaders and then the Tampa Bay Bandits. He returned to the CFL and finish his playing career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1984 and 1985.  

(Obituary) June 1, 2021 Vince Promuto, a guard in the NFL for 11 seasons, dies at the age of 82. Promuto played college football at Holy Cross and holds the NCAA record for recovering eight fumbles in a single game against Boston College. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1960 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He played his entire career in Washington from 1960-1970. Promuto was inducted into the Holy Cross Hall of Fame in 1977 and is also a member of Washington’s Ring of Honor.

May

(Obituary) May 31, 2021 - Ted Mikliechuk, a guard and linebacker in the Canadian Football League for four seasons, dies at the age of 86. Mikliechuk played college football at St. Vital. He signed with the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1958 and played four seasons with the team through 1961. He won three Grey Cup titles with Winnipeg in 1958, 1959 and 1961.

(Obituary) May 28, 2021 Jim Beirne, a wide receiver and tight end in the NFL and the AFL for nine seasons, dies at the age of 74. Beirne played college football at Purdue and was selected in the fourth round of the 1968 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. He played in Houston from 1968-1973 and then for the San Diego Chargers in 1974. He returned to finish his playing career with the Oilers in 1975 and 1976.

(Obituary) May 24, 2021 Eugene Marve, a linebacker in the NFL for 11 seasons, dies at the age of 60. Marve played college football at Saginaw Valley State and was selected in the third round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He played for the Bills from 1982-1987 and then for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1988-1991. He finished his playing career with the San Diego Chargers in 1992.

(Obituary) May 24, 2021 J.D. Roberts, a former coach in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 88. Roberts played guard in college at the University of Oklahoma and won the 1953 Outland Trophy as the nation's top college lineman. He was selected in the 17th round of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, but never appeared in a regular season game. He went on to be an assistant college football coach at the University of Denver, the University of Houston, the U.S. Naval Academy, Auburn University and the University of Oklahoma before moving on to the NFL. Roberts was an original member of the New Orleans Saints' coaching staff as a scout and linebackers coach from 1967-1968. He then became the head coach of the Richmond Roadrunners in the Atlantic Coast Football League in 1969. He returned to the Saints in 1970 and was named interim head coach midway through the season after head coach Tom Fears was fired. His first game as the interim head coach was a 19-16 win over the Detroit Lions when Tom Dempsey kicked an NFL record 63-yard field goal as time expired. Roberts coached the Saints from 1970-1972. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

(Obituary) May 15, 2021 Fred Martinelli, dies at the age of 92. Martinelli played football at Division III Otterbein University in Ohio. He was the head coach at Division II Ashland University in Ohio for 35 years, from 1959-1993. Martinelli posted a record of 217-119-12, including two undefeated seasons in 1967 and 1972. His teams won 10 conference titles. He also served as Ashland's athletics director 1967-1991. Martinelli was inducted into the Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

(Obituary) May 12, 2021 Jerry Burns, a former head coach in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 94. Burns was a quarterback in college at Michigan. He was the head coach at Iowa from 1961-1965 before becoming the defensive backs coach of the Green Bay Packers and was a part of the team that won the first two Super Bowls. Burns was also an assistant coach with the Minnesota Vikings from 1969-1985 and head coach of the team from 1986-1991.   

(Obituary) May 11, 2021 Greg Findlay, a former linebacker in the Canadian Football League, dies at the age of 78. After high School, Findlay played for the Meraloma Junior Football Club in Vancouver. He went on to play in the CFL for the British Columbia Lions for 12 seasons, from 1962-1973. He won a Grey Cup title with the Lions in 1964.  

(Obituary) May 10, 2021 Colt Brennan, a record setting quarterback in college, dies at the age of 37. The cause of death was not immediately announced. Brennen played college football at Hawaii and became the NCAA’s all-time leader in touchdown passes in 2007 as well as a Heisman Trophy finalist. Brennan was selected in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He never played in a regular season game for Washington in the two seasons he was there. In 2010, he was involved in an off-season car accident in Hawaii and was never the same again after that. He was briefly with the Los Angeles Kiss of the Arena Football league in the mid-2010s.

(Obituary) May 6, 2021 Jim Bertelsen, a running back in the NFL for five seasons, dies at the age of 71. Bertelsen played college football at the University of Texas and won two national championships with the Longhorns in 1969 and 1970. He was selected in the second round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams where he played from 1972-1977. Bertelsen was inducted into the University of Texas Hall of Honor in 1996.

(Obituary) May 3, 2021 Dick Steere, who was a kicker and a guard in the NFL and the CFL, dies at the age of 94. Steere played college football at Drake University and was selected in the fifth round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. However, he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and played one season in Philly in 1951. He then signed with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League and played just two games for the team in 1952 before a shoulder injury ended his playing career. He went on to be a high school teacher and football coach in Illinois.

(Obituary) May 1, 2021 Al Jamison, a tackle in the American Football League for three seasons, dies at the age of 83. Jamison played college football at Colgate. He played for the Houston Oilers from 1960-1962 and was on the team that won the first two AFL championships. A back injury cut his playing career short. Jamison went into the construction equipment business and was a county judge for 12 years. Jamison was also a sports talk radio host in Houston.

April

(Obituary) April 29, 2021 Courtney Hall, who was a center in the NFL for eight seasons, dies at the age of 52. Hall played college football at Rice University and was selected in the second round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played for the Chargers from 1989-1996. He was the captain of the team during the their only Super Bowl appearance in 1995, a 49-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. After his playing career was over, Hall earned an MBA and a law degree and founded a venture capital firm.

(Obituary) April 26, 2021 Geno Hayes, a linebacker in the NFL for seven seasons, dies at the age of 33. He died of liver disease while awaiting a liver transplant. Hayes played college football at Florida State and was selected in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played for the Bucs from 2008-2011. He also played for the Chicago Bears in 2012 and the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013 and 2014.

(Obituary) April 25, 2021 Mike Davis, a defensive back in the NFL for nine seasons, dies at the age of 65. Davis played college football at Colorado and was selected in the second round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He played for Oakland from 1978-1981, then the team moved to Los Angeles. He then played for the Los Angeles Raiders from 1982-1985. Davis won two Super Bowls with the Raiders, one in 1981 with Oakland and one in 1984 in Los Angeles. He finished his playing career with the San Diego Chargers in 1987.  

(Obituary) April 25, 2021 Ben Dreith, an official in the AFL and the NFL, dies at the age of 96. Dreith started out as a field judge in the American Football League in 1960 and then became a head referee in the NFL from 1964-1990. He is most famous for his comment during a penalty in a 1986 game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets. He said, "There's a personal foul, on number 99 of the defense — after he tackled the quarterback, he's giving' him the business down there, that's a 15-yard penalty."

(Obituary) April 22, 2021 Harry Tolly, a member of the National Football Foundation’s inaugural National Scholar-Athlete Class of 1959, dies at the age of 83. Tolly played college football at Nebraska where he played quarterback, defensive back and punter. He led the team in passing, punting and interceptions in his senior season of 1959. Also that season, Tolly led the team to an upset win over Oklahoma, which snapped the Sooners’ 74-game conference winning streak. He went on to serve in the Nebraska Air National Guard for six years while attending dental school and was a dentist in Lincoln, Nebraska for 40 years.   

(Obituary) April 17, 2021 - Fred Arbanas, a tight end in the American Football League for nine seasons (1962-1970), dies at the age of 82. Arbanas played college football at Michigan State and was selected in the second round of the 1961 NFL draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. He was also selected in the seventh round of the 1961 AFL Draft by the Dallas Texans. A back injury caused him to sit out the 1961 season. He won an AFL title in his rookie season of 1962 with the Texans. Soon after, the team moved and became the Kansas City Chiefs. In 1964, he was declared legally blind in his left eye after being punched by a stranger on the street. The team wanted to move him to play tackle, but he refused. Arbanas won two more AFL titles with the Chiefs, playing in the very first Super Bowl, which was a loss to the Green Bay Packers. His final game was a win in Super Bowl IV over the Minnesota Vikings. He made the key block in the famous “65 Toss Power Trap” play in Super Bowl IV. Arbanas was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

(Obituary) April 15, 2021 Marvin “Leroy” Keyes, who played running back and safety in the NFL for five seasons, dies at the age of 74. Keyes played college football at Purdue and was the third overall pick in the 1969 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played for the Eagles from 1969-1972. He also played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1973. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990 and was an inaugural member of the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994.

(Obituary) April 14, 2021 RonaldLynn” Thomas, who played in the NFL and the USFL, dies at the age of 61. Thomas played college football at the University of Pittsburgh and was selected in the fifth round of the 1981 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played for the 49ers in 1981 and1982 and was a member of the Super Bowl XVI championship team in his rookie season. He also played for the Oakland Invaders of the USFL in 1984 and 1985.

(Obituary) April 13, 2021 - Harold Bradly, who was a guard in the NFL for four seasons, dies at the age of 91. Bradley played college football at Iowa. He signed with the Cleveland Browns and played for the team for three seasons, from 1954-1956, winning back-to-back NFL titles in 1954 and 1955. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1958. After his playing career was over, he moved to Italy where he was an artist, singer and actor. He appeared in 20 films including Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor and Jason and the Argonauts.

(Obituary) April 12, 2021 William “Red” Mack, who played in the first Super Bowl, dies at the age of 83. Mack played college football at Notre Dame and was selected in the 10th round on the 1961 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was also selected in the 23rd round of the 1961 AFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He signed with the Steelers where he played halfback, tight end and wide receiver from 1961-1963. Mack then played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1964 before returning to the Steelers in 1965. He finished is playing career in 1966 playing for the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. His final NFL game was a win in Super Bowl I with the Packers over the Kansas City Chiefs.  

(Obituary) April 2, 2021 Gerald Irons, a linebacker n the NFL for 10 seasons, dies at the age of 73. Irons played college football at Maryland-Eastern Shore and was selected in the third round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He played for the Raiders for six seasons, from 1970-1975. He finished his played for the Cleveland Browns from 1976-1979.

March

(Obituary) March 31, 2021 Mike Sensibaugh, a defensive back in the NFL for eight seasons, dies at the age of 72. Sensibaugh played college football at Ohio State and won a national championship with the team in 1968. He was selected in the eighth round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Sensibaugh played for the Chiefs from 1971-1975 and then played another three seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1976-1978. During his career, he intercepted 27 passes for 501 return yards and recovered 12 fumbles.

(Obituary) March 29, 2021 Bob Houmard, who played in the Canadian Football League and the World Football League, dies at the age of 74. Houmard played college football at Ohio University and was selected in the 14th round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he chose to sign with the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he played running back and tight end in 1969 and 1970. In 1971, he split his time with the Edmonton Eskimos and the Ottawa Rough Riders. He finished his CFL career in Ottawa in 1972. He also played for the WFL Memphis Southmen in 1974. Houmard went on to be a high school physical education teacher in Ohio for over 25 years before he retired in 2006.

(Obituary) March 27, 2021 Howard Schnellenberger, a legendary college football coach, dies at the age of 87. Schnellenberger played tight end in college at Kentucky and went on to play two seasons in the Canadian Football League for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1956 and the British Columbia Lions in 1958. He then went into coaching. He started out as an assistant coach at Kentucky and then spent time at Alabama under head coach Bear Bryant. He was an assistant coach in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams from 1966-1969 and the Miami Dolphins from 1970-1972. He then became the head coach of the Baltimore Colts from 1973 and 1974 before returning to the Dolphins as an assistant coach from 1975-1978. Schnellenberger returned to college coaching and was the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes from 1979-1983. He took over a floundering team that was going to be discontinued and led them to a national championship in 1983. He then signed with the USFL to be the head coach of an expansion team in Miami, but the team never got off the ground, leaving him out of football in 1984. In 1985, he took over as the head coach at Louisville and was there for 10 seasons through 1994. He spent one season as the head coach at Oklahoma in 1995 and then was the head coach at Florida Atlantic from 2004-2011. He led his college teams to six bowl game and won all of them. 

(Obituary) March 20, 2021 Fred Wyant, a longtime NFL official and referee, dies at the age of 86. Wyant played quarterback, linebacker and safety at West Virginia and was selected in the third round of the 1956 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He played the 1956 season in Washington and then played one season in the Canadian Football League for the Toronto Argonauts in 1957. Wyant then became a high school football referee. He worked his way through the college ranks and eventually became an NFL official and referee for 27 years, from 1966-1992. In 2001 he published a book titled, “Offsides! Fred Wyant’s Provocative Look Inside the National Football League.” Wyant was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1984, the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and was also named an inaugural member of the Mountaineer Legends Society in 2016.

(Obituary) March 18, 2021 Dom Errico, a college and Arena Football public address announcer, dies of COVID-19 at the age of 42. Errico was the basketball and football PA announcer at Duquesne University as well as several other school sports. He was also the PA announcer for the Pittsburgh Power of the Arena Football League, which played from 2011-2014.

(Obituary) March 18, 2021 Bill Young, a longtime college football assistant coach, dies at the age of 74. Young played linebacker and defensive tackle in college at Oklahoma State and graduated from the school in 1968. He then went into coaching and was an assistant coach at the school from 1976-1978 before going on to several other schools including Miami (Fla.), USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Kansas, Arizona State, Iowa State and Tulsa. He coached in 22 bowl games during his career. He also coached in the NFL with the Detroit Lions in 2001. He retired from coaching in 2018 after coaching for 50 years.

(Obituary) March 18, 2021 Rogers Lehew, a former general manager in the CFL, dies at the age of 92. Lehew played guard in college at Tulsa and was captain of the 1949 team during his senior season. After his college playing days, he spent time as an assistant coach at the school. He later became the GM of the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League from 1964-1973. He won a Grey Cup title with the team in 1971. He is credited with introducing a horse to the sideline at McMahon Stadium, which laid the foundation for Quick Six, the Touchdown Horse, as well as adding the iconic white horse to the Stampeders’ helmets. From 1974-1977, Lehew was the vice-president and assistant GM of the NFL’s Detroit Lions. He was inducted into the Tulsa Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Stampeders Wall of Fame in the builders’ category in 2004.

(Obituary) March 14, 2021 Rusty Tillman, who coached in the NFL and the XFL, dies at the age of 79. Tillman played college football at Arizona and Northern Arizona. He signed with the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent and played linebacker for the team from 1970-1977. He went on to be a longtime assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks from 1979-1994. He also spent time as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders, Indianapolis Colts and the Minnesota Vikings. He retired from the NFL in 2005. In 2001, he was the head coach of the New York/New Jersey Hitmen of the XFL.

(Obituary) March 14, 2021 Calvin Jackson, a defensive back in the NFL and the XFL, dies of an undisclosed illness at the age of 49. Jackson played college football at Auburn University. He signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent and played in Miami from 1994-1999. He also played one season for the Birmingham Thunderbolts of the original XFL in 2001.

(Obituary) March 12, 2021 Bob Pascal, who played one season in the CFL, dies at the age of 86. Pascal played college football at Duke and was selected in the third round of the 1956 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. He ended up signing with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League and played one season in Canada in 1956. Pascal then went into politics and served in the Maryland State Senate from 1971 to 1974. He also ran for governor in 1982, but lost. He eventually became the owner of the United Propane company.

(Obituary) March 11, 2021 Edward “Ted” Collins, who played guard, tackle and defensive tackle in the Canadian Football League for eight seasons, dies at the age of 78. He played college football at the University of Detroit Mercy. He then playing in the CFL for the Ottawa Roughriders from 1965-1967, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1968-1969 and the Montreal Alouettes from 1970-1972. He won a Grey Cup Championship with Montreal in 1970. After football, he became a teacher and administrator at St. Clair College. He also started his own business late in life called Superior Sportswear, which makes sports uniforms. Collins was inducted into the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.

(Obituary) March 9, 2021 Steve Ortmayer, a longtime coach in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 77. Ortmayer played college football at Vanderbilt and at the NAIA University of La Verne. He started his coaching career as an assistant coach at the University of Colorado in 1967 and then at Georgia Tech from 1968-1974. He then moved on to the NFL where he was an assistant coach with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1975-1977 and the Oakland/LA Raiders from 1978-1986. He won two Super Bowls with the Raiders in 1981 and 1984. He was the San Diego Chargers head coach and general manager from 1987-1989 and then he was back with the Raiders from 1990-1994. He was also the St. Louis Rams GM in 1995 and 1996 and an assistant with the Green Bay Packers in 1999. Ortmayer also spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky from 2003-2009.

(Obituary) March 8, 2021 Bill Searcey, who played in the NFL and the USFL, dies at the age of 63. Searcey played college football at Alabama. He went on to play two seasons in the USFL, first for the Birmingham Stallions in 1983 and then for the Houston Gamblers in 1984. He also played one season in the NFL for the San Diego Chargers in 1985. In 2013, he published his autobiography called, "High Tide: A Story of Football, Freefall, and Forgiveness" which told of his struggle with drug addiction and other issues that he overcame during his life.

(Obituary) March 8, 2021 Zeke O’Conner, who played end and defensive end in the AAFC, the NFL and the CFL, dies at the age of 94. O’Connor played college football at Notre Dame and was selected in the 18th round of the 1948 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He did not sign with the Rams, however. Instead, he signed with the NFL rival All America Football Conference. He played for the Buffalo Bills in 1948 and the Cleveland Browns in 1949, winning an AAFC title with the Browns in 1949. He also played for the NFL New York Yanks in 1951 before heading north of the border. He played in the Canadian Football League for two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts in 1952 and 1953. He won a Grey Cup title with the Argonauts in 1952, catching the game-winning touchdown pass. From 1956-1981, O’Connor was a color commentator on Grey Cup broadcasts. 

(Obituary) March 4, 2021 Chris Shultz, who was a tackle in the NFL and the CFL, dies of a heart attack at the age of 61. Schultz played college football at the University of Arizona and was selected in the seventh round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He played for the Cowboys in 1983 and 1985. He then signed with the CFL Toronto Argonauts in 1986. Being a Canadian, Schultz had also been drafted by Toronto in the first round of the 1982 CFL Draft. He played in Toronto from 1986-1994 and won a Grey Cup title in 1991. He was named to the Argonauts all-time team in 2007. After his playing career was over, Schultz went into radio for a while, then spent 20 years as an analyst for the Canadian sports television network, TSN. He spent the last two seasons as a color commentator on the Argonauts’ radio broadcasts. Schultz was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

February

(Obituary) February 28, 2021 Irv Cross, an NFL player and later a broadcaster, dies at the age of 81. Cross played college football at Northwestern and was selected in the seventh round of the 1961 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played defensive back for the Eagles from 1961-1965. He was then traded to the Los Angles Rams where he played from 1966-1968 and then he re-signed with the Eagles in 1969. He was also the Eagles’ defensive backs coach in 1969 and 1970. Cross went on to be a broadcaster. In 1971 he was hired by CBS as a game analyst. In 1975, he joined Brent Musburger, Phyllis George and Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder on the CBS show, THE NFL TODAY, which was the first live NFL pregame show. He remained on the show for 14 years, through 1988. After he left CBS, he spent time as the athletic director at FCS Idaho State and also at Division III Macalester College in Minnesota.

(Obituary) February 27, 2021 Louis Nix III, a defensive tackle in the NFL, dies at the age of 29. He had been reported missing by his family a few days before he was found dead in his Jacksonville apartment. The cause of death was not immediately released. His car was also found in a pond near his apartment. Nix played college football at Notre Dame and was selected in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. He was with the Texans for one season but did not appear in any games for the team. In 2015, he played in four games for the New York Giants. He also spent time on the practice squads of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Washington Football Team. His brief NFL career came to an end in 2017.

(Obituary) February 26, 2021 Maurice “Mo” Forte, who coached in college and in the NFL, dies at the age of 73. Forte was a running back in college at the University of Minnesota. Forte began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach at University of Minnesota in 1970. He also served as an assistant at Duke, Michigan State and Arizona State before becoming the head coach at HBCU North Carolina A&T. Forte was the A&T head coach from 1982-1987. He then spent seven seasons as an assistant coach for the NFL's Denver Broncos from 1988-1994. He also spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions in 1995 and 1996 before becoming the Norfolk State head coach for 1999-2002. In 2004, he accepted the head coaching job at Arkansas-Pine Bluff and coached there through 2007.

(Obituary) February 26, 2021 John Mendenhall, a defensive tackle in the NFL for nine seasons, dies at the age of 72. Mendenhall played college football at Grambling and was selected in the third round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He played in New York from 1972-1979 and finished his playing career with the Detroit Lions in 1980.

(Obituary) February 25, 2021 Art Michalik, (pronounced Ma-HAY-lick) who played linebacker and guard in the NFL for four seasons, dies at the age of 91. Michalik played college football at St. Ambrose and was selected in the 17th round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He spent a couple of years serving in the United States Marine Corps before joining the 49ers, where he played in 1953 and 1954. He also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955 and 1956. During a game against the Cleveland Browns in his rookie season, he hit Browns quarterback Otto Graham so hard that Graham had to be taken to the locker room. He returned to the game with a makeshift, clear Plexiglas face guard attached to his helmet. This eventually led to facemasks being adopted by the NFL. After he retired from football, Michalik became a professional wrestler known a “Boom Boom” Michalik. After his pro wrestling career was over, he became a high school teacher and coach.   

(Obituary) February 25, 2021 Darrius Johnson, a defensive back in the NFL for five seasons, dies at the age of 48. Johnson played college football at Oklahoma and was selected in the fourth round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He played in Denver from 1996-1999 and won two Super Bowls in 1998 and 1999. He also played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2003.

(Obituary) February 23, 2021 Dick Witcher, a wide receiver and tight end in the NFL for eight seasons, dies at the age of 76. Witcher played college football at UCLA and was selected in the eighth round of the 1966 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played his entire career with the 49ers from 1966-1973.

(Obituary) February 22, 2021 Doug Wilkerson, a guard in the NFL for 15 seasons, dies at the age of 73. Wilkerson played college football at HBCU North Carolina Central and was the 14th overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. He played just one season in Houston before being traded to the San Diego Chargers the following year. He played for the Chargers from 1971-1984. Wilkerson was inducted into the North Carolina Central University Hall of Fame in 1984, the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

(Obituary) February 18, 2021 John Roach, a quarterback, punter and defensive back in the NFL for seven seasons, dies at the age of 87. Roach played college football at SMU and was selected in the third round of the 1956 NFL Draft by the Chicago Cardinals. He played for the Cardinals in 1957, then spent two years serving in the U.S. Air Force before returning to the Cardinals in 1959. He also played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1960, the Green Bay Packers from 1961-1963 and the Dallas Cowboys in 1964. Roach won two NFL titles as a member of the Packers in 1961 and 1962.  

(Obituary) February 16, 2021 Wayne Nunnely, an assistant coach in the NFL for 17 seasons, dies at the age of 68. Nunnely played fullback in college at UNLV. After graduating, he went into coaching at the college level. He spent time as an assistant at Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Fullerton, College of the Pacific and UNLV. He became the interim head coach at UNLV in 1986 and was the head coach there through 1989. Nunnely was just the fifth black head coach in NCAA Division One history. He went on to be an assistant coach at USC in 1991-1994 before moving to the NFL. Nunnely was an assistant coach with the New Orleans Saint from 1995-1996, the San Diego Chargers from 1997-2008 and the Denver Broncos from 2009-2011. 

(Obituary) February 15, 2021 Vincent Jackson, a wide receiver in the NFL for 12 seasons, dies at the age of 38. His family had reported him missing on February 10. Authorities located him at a hotel on February 12 and spoke to him. He was found dead at the hotel three days later. The cause of death was not immediately known. Jackson played college football at FCS Northern Colorado and was selected in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played in San Diego from 2005-2011. Jackson finished his playing career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2012-2016. 

(Obituary) February 14, 2021 Lorenzo Washington, a former college football national champion, dies at the age of 34. The cause of death was not immediately announced. Washington played defensive end for Alabama and was a part of the 2009 national championship team. Washington then had a brief career in the NFL as a practice squad player for the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Detroit Lions.

(Obituary) February 11, 2021 Carl “Duke” Iverson, a former college football coach, dies at the age of 80. Iverson was the head coach at NAIA and Division II Western Colorado University from 1988-1995 and from 1997-2000. In 1991, he was named NAIA National Coach of the Year. He is second on the Mountaineers' all-time wins list with a record of 79-47-1. Iverson was inducted into the Mountaineer Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He also coached at NAIA schools Black Hills State and Western Oregon. Iverson finished his coaching career with a record of 126-85-3.

(Obituary) February 9, 2021 Prince McJunkins, a quarterback in college and in the CFL, dies at the age of 59. McJunkins played college football at Wichita State and was the first NCAA player to throw for more than 4,000 yards and rush for more than 2,000 yards in a college career. He went on to play two seasons in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1983 and 1984.

(Obituary) February 8, 2021 - Willie Scott, a tight end in the NFL for eight seasons, dies at the age of 61. Scott played college football at the University of South Carolina and was the 14th overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He played in Kansas City from 1981-1985 and also for the New England Patriots from 1986-1988. He was inducted into the University of South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2006.

(Obituary) February 8, 2021 Marty Schottenheimer, a head coach in the NFL for 21 seasons, dies from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 77. Schottenheimer played college football at the University of Pittsburgh and was selected in the fourth round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. He was also selected in the seventh round of the 1965 AFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He signed with the Bills and played four seasons in Buffalo from 1965-1968 as a middle linebacker. He also played for the Boston Patriots in 1969 and 1970 before going into coaching. He started out as an assistant coach with the Portland Storm of the World Football League in 1974 before moving on to the NFL where he was an assistant with the New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns between 1975-1984. He became the head coach of the Browns in 1985 and remained there through 1988. He was also the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989-1998, the Washington Redskins in 2001 and the San Diego Chargers from 2002-2006. He was named NFL Coach of the Year in 2004. Schottenheimer was the eighth-winningest coach in NFL history, posting a record of 200-126-1. In 2011, he was the head coach and general manager of the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League.

(NFL) February 7, 2021 - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV. Bucs QB Tom Brady was named the game's MVP for the fifth time and collected his seventh ring in 10 Super Bowl appearances.

(Obituary) February 6, 2021 Charlie Krueger, a defensive tackle in the NFL for 15 seasons, dies at the age of 84. Krueger played college football at Texas A&M and was the ninth overall pick in 1958 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. However, he sat out his rookie season due to an injury. He played his entire career with the 49ers from 1959-1973. Krueger helped lead the team to three consecutive NFC West conference titles from 1970-1972. His jersey number (70) was retired in 1974 and he was inducted into the inaugural class of the 49ers' Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, the Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame in 1972, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. 

(Obituary) February 5, 2021 Aurealius Thomas, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, dies at the age of 86. Thomas played at Ohio State from 1955-1957 and won a national championship in 1957. Thomas was selected in the 22nd round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he never played in the NFL. Instead, he became a coach and a teacher. After he graduated, he spent time as an assistant coach under Woody Hayes at Ohio State. He then coached at East High School in Columbus. In 1964, his team posted a 9-0 record, earning him Central Ohio Coach of the Year honors. He also taught science and physical education in the Columbus Public Schools system for 20 years. After coaching, he started a career in insurance, and started his own insurance brokerage firm in Columbus, Ohio. Thomas was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

January

(Obituary) January 26, 2021 Fred Forsberg, who played linebacker in the NFL and the CFL, dies at the age of 74. Forsberg played college football at the University of Washington and was selected in the 14th round of the 1966 American Football League Draft by the Denver Broncos. However, he chose to sign with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League and played north of the border in 1966. He then signed with the Broncos in 1968 and played in Denver in 1968 and from 1970-1973. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills during the 1973 season and played his final NFL season with the San Diego Chargers.(Obituary) January 26, 2021 Gene McDowell, a former college football head coach, dies at the age of 80. McDowell played linebacker and guard at Florida State. He then went into coaching at the school in 1968 and 1969. He then spent four years as an assistant coach at Kansas State from 1970-1973 before returning to FSU as an assistant coach from 1974-1984. In 1985, he became the head coach and athletic director at the University of Central Florida. The program was struggling financially so he signed a contract for just one dollar for the first year. He is considered by many to have single-handedly saved the football program at UCF. In 1990, McDowell won the Eddie Robinson Award as the Division I-AA Coach of the Year. McDowell coached at UCF from 1985-1997 and posted a record of 86-61. He also coached the Tallahassee Thunder of arenafootball2 in the early 2000s. McDowell was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 1985.

(Obituary) January 26, 2021 Patricia Rooney, the widow of former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, dies at the age of 88. Patricia and Dan were married in 1952 and raised nine children. Dan Rooney passed away in 2017.

(Obituary) January 22, 2021 - Tony Jones, who played guard and tackle in the NFL for 13 seasons, dies at the age of 54. Jones played college football at West Carolina and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns in 1988. He played in Cleveland from 1988-1995. He also played for the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. In 1997, Jones was traded to the Denver Broncos, where he finished his playing career from 1997-2000. He won back-to-back Super Bowls with Denver in 1997 and 1998.  

(Obituary) January 21, 2021 Roger LeClerc, a linebacker, center and kicker in the NFL for eight seasons, dies at the age of 84. LeClerc played college football at Trinity College and was selected in the 15th round of the 1959 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He played in Chicago from 1960-1966 and won an NFL title with the Bears in 1963. He finished his playing career with the Denver Broncos of the American Football League in 1967. After he retired as a player, LeClerc spent 30 years as a high school math teacher in Massachusetts.

(Obituary) January 21, 2021 Alicia Landry, the widow of former Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry, dies at the age of 91. They met while both were students at the University of Texas and were married for 51 years before Tom Landry's death in 2000. The Landry’s had three children, Tom, Lisa and Kitty.

(Obituary) January 20, 2021 Bud Lea, a sports reporter for the Milwaukee Sentinel who covered the Green Bay Packers for over 40 years, dies at the age of 92. Lea began covering the team in 1954 and retired from the newspaper in 1995. He was in attendance at the Ice Bowl game as well as the first two Super Bowls. After he retired from the paper, he continued to write for the publication “Packer Plus” for another 16 years. He covered the entire Vince Lombardi era of the team and became the sports editor of the newspaper in 1972. In 2002, he wrote a book called, Magnificent Seven: The Championship Games That Built the Lombardi Dynasty. He was inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club Hall of Fame in 2004. Lea also served on the selection committees for the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  

(Obituary) January 20, 2021 Ted Thompson, the former general manager of the Green Bay Packers, dies at the age of 68. Thompson played college football at SMU. He signed as a free agent with the Houston Oilers and played his entire 10-year NFL career with the team from 1975-1984 as a linebacker. Thompson was the Packers GM from 2005-2017. His first ever draft pick for the team was quarterback Aaron Rogers, which resulted in the team winning a Super Bowl in 2010.

(Obituary) January 16, 2021 Steve Molnar, who played fullback in the Canadian Football League for 10 seasons, dies at the age of 73. Molnar played college football at Utah. He signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1969 and played for the team through 1978. He played in three Grey Cup games, but never won a title.

(Obituary) January 16, 2021 Jon Arnett, who was a running back in the NFL for 10 seasons, dies of heart failure at the age of 85. Arnett played college football at USC and was the second overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He played seven seasons in LA from 1957-1963. His nickname was “Jaguar Jon” and he still holds the Rams record for longest kickoff return in team history; 105-yards against the Detroit Lions in 1961. He finished his playing career with the Chicago Bears from 1964-1966. Arnett was in the inaugural class for the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994 and was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

(Obituary) January 12, 2021 Bruce Bennett, who played quarterback and defensive back in the Canadian Football League for seven seasons, dies of complication of pneumonia and COVID-19 at the age of 77. Bennett played college football at the University of Florida. He signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1966 and played for the team through 1972. He won a Grey Cup title in his rookie season. On Aug. 27, 1972, Bennett recorded the longest interception return in Roughriders history with a 112-yard return in a home game against the Calgary Stampeders. Bennett was inducted into the Roughriders’ Plaza of Honour in 1991. After his pro career was over, Bennet spent 10 years as the head coach at Ware County High School in Waycross, Georgia. Bennett is a member of the Waycross-Ware County Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame. 

(Obituary) January 12, 2021 Tim Lester, who was a fullback in the NFL for eight seasons, dies at the age of 52. Lester played college football at Eastern Kentucky and was selected in the 10th round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He played for the Rams from 1992-1994, the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1995-1998 and he ended his playing career with the Dallas Cowboys in 1999. While playing for the Steelers and Rams, Lester was a lead blocker for Jerome Bettis and was sometimes referred to as the “Bus Driver” for leading the way for Bettis, aka “The Bus.”

(Obituary) January 12, 2021 Carlos Joseph, who was an offensive lineman in the NFL for three seasons, dies of a brain aneurism at the age of 40. Joseph played college football for the Miami Hurricanes and won a national championship at the school in 2001. He was selected in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. He was with the Chargers in 2004 and 2005 and the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2006. He also played for the Colone Centurions and the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe in 2006 and for the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League in 2007.   

(College) January 11, 2021 - The University of Alabama defeated Ohio State 52-24 in the college football national championship game played in Miami. It was the 13th NCAA title for the Crimson Tide dating back to 1961. 

(Obituary) January 8, 2021 Red Wilson, who was a high school and college football coach, dies at the age of 95. Wilson began his coaching career as a high school football coach at several different school. His most successful stop was at Winston-Salem’s R.J. Reynolds High School where he won two high school football state championships at in 1958 and 1964. From 1967-76, he coached at NAIA Elon College, posting a 74-32-2. Elon won six Carolinas Conferences titles and was the NAIA national runner-up in 1973. He was also the head coach at Duke University from 1979-1982 and had back-to-back winning seasons in 1981 and 1982. Wilson was inducted to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

(Obituary) January 7, 2021 Lonnie Perrin, a running back in the NFL for four seasons, dies at the age of 68. Perrin played college football at Illinois and was selected in the fifth round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He played in Denver from 1976-1978. Perrin and the Broncos played in Super Bowl XII but lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27-10. He finished his brief playing career with the Chicago Bears and the Washington Redskins in 1979.    

(Obituary) January 5, 2021 Eldon “The Phantom” Fortie, a tailback in college, dies at the age of 79. Fortie played college football at BYU and was named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 1962. His jersey number (40) was the first to ever be retired by the school. In 1963, Fortie spent one season in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos. He was inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977.

(Obituary) January 3, 2021 Michael Mayock, a high school football coach and teacher, dies at the age of 86. Mayok played college football at Villanova and was selected in the 24th round of the 1955 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, However, he turned down playing for the Steelers in order to become a teacher and football coach. He spent 26 years teaching math, Latin, history and literature at the Haverford School, an all-boys college prep school near Philadelphia. He also coached the school’s football team. Mayock retired as a teacher in 1996 and is a member of the school’s athletic hall of fame.

(Obituary) January 2, 2021 Don Salls, who played running back and defensive back in college as well as a head coach, dies at the age of 101. Salls played college football at Alabama and won a national championship with the team in 1941. He was also captain of the 1942 team. He then joined the Army and served in World War II in France, receiving a Purple Heat for injuries he sustained during combat. He returned to Alabama to get a Doctorate degree in Education. Salls then went into coaching. He coached football at FCS Jacksonville State from 1946-1964. He posted a record of 95-57-11 at JSU, winning three conference championships. He was the winningest football coach in school history. Jacksonville State named its athletic dormitory in his honor in 1966. Salls was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

(Obituary) January 1, 2021 Floyd Little, who was a running back in the AFL and the NFL for nine seasons, dies of cancer at the age of 78. Little played college football at Syracuse. He was one of three great running backs to play for the school and all three wore the number 44. The others were NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown and Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis. Little was the sixth overall pick in the 1967 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He played his entire career in Denver from 1967-1975. He led the NFL in rushing in 1971 with 1,133 yards. Little was also named the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Pro Athlete of the Year in 1972. The number he wore in Denver (44) is one of just three that have been retired by the team. Little was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, the Broncos Ring of Fame in 1984 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.