Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The All Time New York Yankees

For those of you looking for Ruth, Mantle, Jeter, ect....you have found the wrong story.

The article is a tribute to the FOOTBALL Yankees.

This franchise, like many in its time, had a journey that is fascinating and historical.

The first incarnation of the Yankees was founded in 1926 in the first incarnation of the American Football League. This AFL was founded by Hall Of Famer Red Grange's agent C.C. Pyle.

Pyle and Grange started the AFL for a few reasons.

The main reason is because the NFL refused Pyle's request to join the seven year old NFL, a move vehemently opposed by New York Giants owner Tim Mara.

Another big reason was due to a salary dispute between the Chicago Bears and Grange.

Grange had signed a contract with the Bears in 1925 for $100,000, a huge contract for that era. He took the Bears on a barnstorming tour, playing 19 games in 67 days. This moment is often credited for getting the NFL off of the ground and legitimized.

The other reason was how the 1925 NFL season ended, which left a bitter aftertaste for many of their fans.

The Pottsville Maroons were initially named champions after defeating the Chicago Cardinals. The Cardinals then scheduled some faux games, trouncing opponents that were mostly disbanded franchises.

After the Maroons played an exhibition game on the home field of the Frankford Yellow Jackets, the Yellow Jackets protested to NFL commissioner Joe Carr. Carr suspended the Maroons and fined them, then awarded the championship to the Cardinals. The Cardinals refused the award.

The AFL lasted one year, but has some noteworthy moments. One of the charter members of the NFL, the Rock Island Indepenents, joined their league for that season. Another team was called the Los Angeles Wildcats, a traveling team based out of Chicago and owned by Pyle and Grange.

The team, also called the Pacific Wildcats, was named after its star George "Wildcat" Wilson, and had Hall Of Famer Ray Flaherty. Wilson would later go on to lead the Providence Steam Roller to their lone NFL championship in the 1928 season.

Flaherty would join the Yankees in 1927, and stayed until they folded the next year. He then joined the Giants in 1928 and played for them for eight seasons, helping them win a championship in 1934.

Most of the AFL teams folded before Thanksgiving, leaving just four actually still playing football. One team, the Brooklyn Horseman, merged with the Brooklyn Lions of the NFL after playing just four games.

The Lions folded after their lone season in 1926 themselves, but the team was never officially withdrawn from the league. Mara bought the rights, then leased the franchise to Pyle so the Yankees could join the NFL.

The Yankees and Giants would share Yankee Stadium, but the Yankees were essentially a road team. They were only able to play four actual home games before they were forced to fold after the 1928 season, after the agreement between the two teams ended.

The AFL tried to come back in 1936, and another version of the Yankees was born. Both the team and league were not successful, and both folded after the 1937 season.

In 1940, the AFL tried again. The Yankees also tried again. They named themselves the Americans in the beginning of 1941 after a switch in ownership, but the league folded because of World War II.

The 1940 Yankees owner tried to bring back the franchise as a traveling team in 1941, with just four members of the original team. They folded after losing all six of their games.

Another new incarnation of the Yankees came back in 1946, and also played in Yankee Stadium. This Yankees team was part of the All American Football Conference. The Yankees were very popular at that time, and featured running back Spec Sanders.

The Yankees would go to the AAFC Championship Game in each of their first two seasons, but would lose both times to the Cleveland Browns.

The 1947 team also saw Buddy Young join the team. Known as "The Bronze Bullet", Young was considered one of the greatest football players of that era.

Standing just 5'4", Young was an All American in his freshman year at the University of Illinois. He, like many players, then joined the military to serve because of World War 2.

Young also was a trailblazer, being one of a few African American players to play professional football then. After leaving the franchise in 1952, he joined the Baltimore Colts and became the first Colt to ever have his jersey number retired.

Flaherty left the Yankees mid-way in the 1948 season, and would coach the AAFC Chicago Hornets the next season. After that season, the Brooklyn Dodgers of the AAFC folded and merged with the Yankees.

The Yankees would make the playoffs in 1949, but would lose to the San Francisco 49ers in the Division championship game. The AAFC then folded and was absorbed by the NFL.

The Boston Yanks were founded in the NFL in 1944, and stayed there until 1948. The team then moved to New York, renaming themselves the Bulldogs. Many of the AAFC Yankee players would join this team, and the team switched back to their Yanks name in the 1950 season. The team would last in New York until 1951, then announced they were moving to Dallas and be called the Texans.

Due to the prevalent bigotry that was throughout the South at that time, as well as the civil rights movement at that time, the team only lasted seven games in Dallas. They featured two African American stars in Young and George Taliaferro, as well as two future Hall Of Famers in Art Donovan and Gino Marchetti.

Another player on that team was Fritz Von Erich. Von Erich later became a very successful professional wrestler and promoter. His family is also known because five of his sons died young, four of which were professional wrestlers.

The Texans folded after that one season, and was bought by Carroll Rosenbloom. Rosenbloom then started the Baltimore Colts with this franchise, though the NFL does not officially recognize this lineage.

Without further delay, here is your All Time Yankees :
(Unfortunately, Not All Players Pictures Were Found)

QUARTERBACK : Clarence "Ace" Parker

Clarence was an All American at Duke University, and also was an excellent baseball player. He is a member of the Duke University Sports Hall of Fame, North Carolina and Virginia Sports Halls of Fame, Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame, and the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

Parker initially tried baseball, and joined the Philadelphia Athletics in 1936. He left the team after the 1938 season due to a lack of success.

Parker was drafted by the NFL Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937, the second quarterback taken in the draft behind Sammy Baugh. Though he only played four games that year, he led the team on passing.

Ace made his first All Pro team the next year, leading the league in passing attempts and yardage. After having a good 1939 season, leading the league in yards gained per pass completion, Ace had his best season as a player in 1940.

He led the NFL with 6 interceptions for 146 yards, and scored a touchdown. They were the first interceptions of his career. Parker also led the NFL in extra points attempted and made, and ran for a career best 306 yards on 86 attempts.

He was named to his last All Pro team, and was named the MVP of the NFL.

Ace had the last interception of his career in 1941, and left the NFL to join the Army because of the war.

He returned to the NFL in 1945, and joined the Boston Yanks. He served mainly as a reserve, then left the team at seasons end.

Parker joined the Yankees for one year in 1946. He helped lead the team to the AAFC Championship game, which they lost. He then retired for good, and became a baseball and football coach at Duke and a player-manager of the Durham Bulls of the Piedmont League in minor league baseball. Twice he was named manager of the year.

Clarence "Ace" Parker is the oldest living member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

George Pease, of the first Yankees team, deserves mention. He led the AFL in touchdown passes, getting seven. He later played in the NFL with the Orange Tornadoes in 1929. He led the team in receiving, touchdowns, punt returns, and punt return yardage. He retired after that season.

RUNNING BACK : Orban "Spec" Sanders

Sanders was the Redskins first round draft pick in the 1942 draft, but went off to serve in the military because of WWII.

Spec came to the Yankees in 1946, and instantly became the face of the franchise, and was a major star of the league. He was named to the All AAFC First Team in his first two years, which is akin to being an All Pro.

He led the AAFC in rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing yards per game, yards from scrimmage, all-purpose yards, touches, rushing touchdowns, and total touchdowns in his first two seasons.

He led the AAFC with a 103 yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the longest in franchise history, in his rookie year. It is still the 22nd longest return in professional football history.

Spec intercepted two passes that year, and took one for a 50 yard touchdown. It is the only defensive touchdown of his career. He also threw four touchdowns, punted 22 times that year, and caught a career best 17 balls for 259 yards and three TD's.

Spec really exploded in 1947. He had 1,432 yards rushing on 231 attempts, a 6.1 yards per carry average, and ran in a whopping 18 touchdowns. His yards rushed that year would stand as a record for over a decade. He also tossed a career best 14 scores, punted 46 times, and intercepted three balls that year.

Spec also led the AAFC with 22 kickoff returns, and scored on a 92 yard return.

The 1948 season was his last with the Yankees. He led the AAFC in rushing attempts again, and scored nine times via the ground. He also threw five more scores, punted 42 times, and picked off a pass.

Sanders was named the the All AAFC Second Team after that year, but did not play in 1949 because of a knee injury he suffered late in the previous season. He did join the Yanks for the 1950 season.

He led the NFL with 13 interceptions, which is the second most ever, and gained 199 yards. He also punted the ball a career high 71 times, and returned 6 punts for 93 yards. Though he rarely played offense that year, he did complete two of the three passes he attempted for 58 yards.

Spec was named to the NFL All Pro Team that year, then he retired from the game.

Spec Sanders is the Yankees all time leader in rushing attempts and yards, passing attempts, completions, touchdowns, and yards, total yards, total touchdowns, and scoring.


Red is considered, by many, the greatest college football player ever. He is one of only two men to have their jersey retired by Illinois University.

He set several records in college, and was a three time All American. After leading his school to an undefeated season and the 1923 Helms Athletic Foundation national championship, he was dubbed "The Galloping Ghost" by Chicago sportswriter Warren Brown.

After college, Red signed a huge contract to play with the Chicago Bears, and helped make the NFL legitimate. This arrangement lasted one year.

Red, along with his agent C.C. Pyle, decided to start the Yankees and AFL the next year. After the league folded, the Yankees joined the NFL.

Red hurt his knee badly against the Bears that year, and had to miss the rest of the season and the entire 1928 season.

Red returned to Chicago in 1929, and the Bears had two Grange's on their roster from 1929 to 1931. Gardie was Red's older brother and had played with him in college.

Gardie caught three touchdown passes, and kicked two extra points in his career. Though both men were the same height, and Red outweighed Gardie by only seven pounds, most people forget that one of the things that brought Red back to the Bears was the signing of Gardie.

Though the NFL officially credits Red with 569 yards rushing, 16 pass receptions, 31 touchdowns, and ten more passing, it must be noted the stats from that era were poorly compiled.

In fact, the NFL says Red played only five games for the Bears in 1925, but it is known he played at least 19 that year. Then there is the fact Red has no defensive stats, but he was a fine defender. His true statistics may never be known.

What is known is that he was a key member of two Bears teams that won championships.

He is a member of the NFL's 1920's All Decade Team, the College Football Hall Of Fame, and the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

His impact on the game is immeasurable, and hard to truly summarize.

The best quote, that I saw, was by Halas in an interview with Chris Berman in the late 1970's.

Halas was asked who was the greatest running back he ever saw. Halas said it was Grange. Halas was then asked how many yards would Grange get today. Halas said it would be close to 800 yards.

Berman responded, "Well, 800 yards is just okay."

Halas sat up in his chair and said, "Son, you must remember one thing. Red Grange is 75 years old."

WIDE RECEIVER : Morris Badgro

Badgro was inducted into Canton in 1981, and is the oldest player ever to be inducted. He joined the Yankees in 1927, and stayed with them until the end of that season. Though he was a good defensive player and blocker, he is noted for being a fine receiver.

After he left the Yankees, he went on to play baseball with the Saint Louis Browns for two years. He then decided to play football again, this time joining the Giants. He scored the first touchdown in a NFL Championship game in 1933, and helped the Giants win the 1934 championship. Morris then joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1936, and retired after that season.

WIDE RECEIVER : Bruce Alford

Bruce was an eighth round draft choice of the Philadelphia/ Pittsburgh Steagles in the 1943 NFL Draft. The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers had combined rosters because of the war.

Alford served in the Army, then joined the Yankees in 1946. He caught 13 balls, and returned one kickoff for 62 yards.

He made his only All Pro Team in 1947. Bruce caught 20 passes, and scored 5 times. Alford also took the only punt return of his career 34 yards for a score. Also, he returned two kickoffs for 90 yards. One of his returns was a 79 yard touchdown. Alford also intercepted the only pass of his career.

Bruce had a career high 32 receptions the next year, gaining 578 yards, and scored three times. Alford followed that up by getting 11 receptions in the 1949 season.

Alford was with the Yanks for the next two years, and grabbed five receptions. He scored the last touchdown of his career in 1950, off of a blocked kick. He retired after the 1951 season as the Yankees all time leader in receptions and reception yardage.

TIGHT END : Jack Russell

Jack was drafted by the Steagles in the third round of the 1943 NFL Draft. Instead of playing, he joined the Army with Alford.

Jack joined the Yankees in 1946, and caught 23 receptions with four touchdowns. He followed that up 20 catches and two TD's the next season, to go with an interception Russell returned 33 yards.

Russell then had a career high six touchdown receptions in 1948. He also had a career best 433 yards on 23 receptions, and intercepted a pass. The 1949 season saw Jack grab seven passes for a score, and intercept the last pass of his career.

Jack joined the Yanks in 1950, and caught ten passes, scoring twice. He also recovered three fumbles, and took one in for a touchdown. He retired after that year.

Jack is the Yankees franchise leader in touchdown receptions, and caught the longest past in franchise history. He is also second in receptions and reception yardage.

Al Rose also deserves mention. He was a member of the 1937 Yankees in the second AFL. He had spent most of his career in the NFL, playing with the Providence Steam Roller and the Packers for for seven seasons.

CENTER : Lou Sossamon

Lou was drafted by the Steagles in the sixth round in 1943, but had to serve in the military. He joined the Yankees in 1946, and soon was an important member of the team.

In 1947, Lou scored a touchdown on a blocked kick, and helped anchor the Yankees line on both sides of the ball. He was named to the All AAFC Second Team after that year.

Sossamon played the 1948 season with the Yankees, then retired.

Lou making a tackle!

GUARD : Mike Michalske

The first offensive guard inducted into the Hall Of Fame, and is a member of the NFL 1920's All Decade Team. Michalske joined the AFL Yankees in 1926, and stayed with them until 1928. He then joined the Green Bay Packers the following year, helping them win three straight championships between 1929 to 1931. He retired in 1935, but came back to play one season for the Packers in 1937.

He was called "Iron Mike", because he was noted for his toughness. He was a 60 minute man, and only missed nine games in his career despite playing with an inoperable abdominal hernia. He also wore nine different jersey numbers in his eight years with the Packers, the most ever in franchise history.

GUARD : Alex Drobnitch

Alex was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1937, but opted to join the Yankees in the second AFL instead. He is the only member of that team to be named an All Star. He went on to play with the Americans and Buffalo Indians of the third AFL, then retired to join the armed forces in the war.

He was an All American at the University of Denver, and was inducted in the inaugural class of the schools athletic Hall Of Fame in 1996.

Les Richter deserves mention, as he was a first round draft pick of the 1952 Yanks. He was in the Army at the time, and never played. The Yanks traded him to the Los Angeles Rams for 11 players, which is a record deal for a single player.


McCormack played one season for the Yanks in 1951, then joined the Cleveland Browns the next year. He became an important member of a Browns team that won back to back championships between 1954 to 1955. He stayed with the Browns until 1962, then retired.

He later came a successful coach several teams and a GM for the Carolina Panthers. Mike McCormack is a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE : Frank "Bruiser" Kinard

Frank was drafted in the third round of the 1936 NFL Draft by the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was already a star player in college, having attended Mississippi University.

There, he was a two time All American player, the first in school history. He is a member of the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Ole Miss Team of the Century, Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame, College Football Hall Of Fame, and Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

Bruiser immediately had an impact on the NFL in his rookie year. He was named All Pro in all seven years with the Dodgers. He then joined the Yankees in 1946, and was named All Pro again. After playing the next year, he retired.

Kinard was a complete player. He kicked extra points, and made 27 out of 30 attempts. He also made the only field goal attempt of his career. Frank also got his hands on the ball in 1943. He caught five balls and scored a touchdown.

He was also excellent as a defensive tackle. In 1941, he returned a fumble for a touchdown. He also intercepted a pass in 1944, and returned it 26 yards.

After he retired, Bruiser returned to Ole Miss to coach football and serve as the Athletic Director until he retired in 1973.


Art was drafted by the Giants in the 22nd round of the 1947 NFL Draft, but opted to stay in college after serving four years with the Marines.

He joined the AAFC Baltimore Colts in 1950, but the team and league folded at the end of the season. He then joined the Yanks for the 1951 season, and stayed with the franchise through several moves.

Now the team was known as the Baltimore Colts, and this is where Art became well known throughout the country. He was named an All Pro five times, and recorded a safety in the 1953 season.

The Colts soon became one of the most popular teams in all of sports, as they would win consecutive champions in the 1958 and 1959 seasons.

Art retired in 1961, and was inducted into Canton just seven years later.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE : Arnie Weinmeister

Arnie joined the Yankees when he was 25 years old, due to military obligations while in college. His impact was immediate, as he was named to the All-AAFC second team. The next year, he was named to the first team, which is akin to being an All Pro.

Arnie then joined the Giants in 1950, and was named to the All Pro team in all four years he played there.

He retired after the 1953 season, and is one of only three men to have been born in Saskatchewan, Canada and play in the NFL. In 1984, he was inducted into Canton.

DEFENSIVE END : Gerald "Red" Maloney

Red started his career with the Providence Steam Roller in the 1925 NFL season. He scored a touchdown off of a fumble recovery, and kicked three field goals and four extra points.

He was named Second Team All NFL by the Green Bay Post-Gazette.

He joined the Yankees for their inaugural season in 1926, and scored two touchdowns off of receptions. He stayed with the Yankees the next year in the NFL and caught the last touchdown pass of his career.

Maloney did not play in 1928, but he joined the Boston Bulldogs for the 1929 NFL season. He started in seven of the eight games he played, then retired.

DEFENSIVE END : Nate Johnson

Nate joined the Yankees in 1946, and started right away. He stayed with the team the following season as well. The 1947 season saw him named to the All-AAFC First Team, and the Daily News First Team All-AAFC.

Nate then joined the Chicago Rockets in 1948, then the Chicago Hornets the following year. In 1950, Nate joined the New York Yanks, then retired at the end of the season.

He played both ways as an offensive tackle and defensive tackle, and was excellent. I had to find a spot for him on the team.

LINEBACKER : Irv "King Kong" Klein

Besides being an All American football player in college, Irv was also a basketball star. He helped New York University win the Helms National Championship in 1935, as well as have a perfect season in 1934. He is a member of the NYU Hall Of Fame.

He played on the Yankees in the second AFL, so his records are irretrievable on the internet. I am putting him at LB because of his nickname.

LINEBACKER : Bob Sweiger

Bob joined the Yankees in 1946, and stayed with them until 1948. He was initially drafted by the Giants in the 3rd round of the 1942 NFL Draft, but had to serve in the Armed Services because of the war.

Bob ran and caught the ball as a rookie, scoring once off a reception. He also had a career best four interceptions for 82 yards, helping the Yankees reach the AAFC Championship game.

Sweiger scored the last receiving touchdown of his career the following season, and also scored another touchdown off of two interceptions.

His last year with the Yankees saw him have a career high 12 receptions, then he joined Flaherty on the Chicago Hornets for the 1949 season. He intercepted one pass and had 11 receptions, then retired.

LINEBACKER : Bob Kennedy

Bob was drafted in the third round by the Steagles in 1943, but had to serve in the military. He joined the Yankees in 1946, and picked off three passes. He also scored twice on 58 rushing attempts, returned a career high four kickoffs for 105 yards, caught a career best 11 passes, and punted seven times.

Bob had eight interceptions over the next three years, as well as running the ball 195 times for 838 yards and seven scores.

Kennedy played five games for the Yanks in 1950, intercepting a pass, then retired.

Bob Kennedy's 53 games played are the most in Yankees history.

photo courtesy of atticajailhouseballcaps.blogspot.com
This hat is for sale, according to the site

SAFETY : Otto Schnellbacher

Otto was a two sports star at Kansas University. He was the schools first All American football player, and one of only three Jayhawks to be named All Conference in four years. He held the school receptions and receiving yardage records for 22 years, and is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Kansas Hall of Fame and the schools football Ring of Honor.

He joined the Yankees in 1948 and had the best season of his career. He led the league with 11 interceptions for 239 yards, and scored a touchdown. He even had five receptions and returned five punts.

After the season was over, Otto joined the Basketball Association of America. He played 43 games with two teams as a forward, and averaged over six points per game.

Otto returned to the Yankees in 1949, and picked off four balls. He also had the last reception of his career, and returned four punts.

He joined the Giants in the 1950 NFL season, and was named an All Pro. He had 8 interceptions for 99 yards, and returned three punts.

Otto played his last year in 1951, and was named All Pro again. He matched his career high of 11 interceptions, which also led the NFL. Schnellbacher also led the NFL with 194 yards and two touchdowns.

Otto Schnellbacher's 15 interceptions are the most in Yankees history.

SAFETY : Eddie Tryon

Eddie is a member of the original Yankees. It was Tryon, not Grange, who lit up the first AFL. He led the league in scoring and rushing touchdowns. He also was second in the league in touchdown receptions, behind Grange, and tied for fifth in field goals made.

He played one more season, when the Yankees joined the NFL. He had two touchdowns rushing and receiving., and made all eight of his extra points attempted. He was named to the Green Bay Press-Gazette Second Team All NFL, then retired.

I put Eddie on the team because of how he excelled on the first Yankees. He certainly was a two-way player, though NFL records list him as a running back in his only season in their league.

He was a star at Colgate University, scoring 111 points in his senior year, and had 360 points in his collegiate career.


Tom started his career with the AAFC Yankees in 1949. He joined the Giants the next season, and made his only All Pro team in 1954. By then, he also was an assistant coach. He retired as a player after the 1955 season.

Tom was named the defensive coordinator in 1956, and stayed there until the end of the 1959 season. In 1960, he became the head coach of the expansion Dallas Cowboys and held that position until 1988.

Tom led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl wins, and won 270 games in his tenure. He was named NFL Coach of the Year twice, and is a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

CORNERBACK : Pete Layden

Pete was drafted by the Giants in the tenth round of the 1942 NFL Draft. He had to go serve in the Army.

In 1948, Pete played two sports. He was an outfielder for the Saint Louis Browns in Major League Baseball for 41 games, and also played for the AAFC Yankees.

He threw 105 passes that year, completed 43 of them, and had 816 yards thru the air. Nine went for scores. Layden also ran the ball 95 times for 576 yards and three scores.

Pete returned eight kickoffs for 211 yards, and punted the ball 21 times for an average of 42.1 yards per punt. All are career highs. He also intercepted three passes.

Layen only threw ten passes in 1949, and completed two. He also ran the ball 19 times for 96 yards, and had the only reception of his career.

Though Pete only returned one kickoff, he led the AAFC in punt returns with 29, gaining 287 yards. He also punted the ball the last fifteen times in his career, averaging 41.7 yards per attempt.

Layden also led the Yankees with seven interceptions, and gained 137 yards. He scored the last touchdown of his career off of one of those interceptions.

Layden joined the Yanks in 1950, and intercepted three passes. He also made the only three extra points he attempted in his career. He then retired from the game.


Young was already a football legend before he went pro. Buddy went to Illinois University, and was often compared to fellow alumni Grange. Young equaled several of Grange's records, including touchdowns scored in a single seaon. He was an All American player his freshman year, but had to leave school to serve in the military because of the war.

When he fulfilled his obligations in 1946, he spurned offers to turn pro and returned to Illinois. Young then helped them win the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl. He was also an All American in track.

Buddy joined the Yankees in 1947, and formed one of the more electrifying tandems in pro football with Spec Sanders. He gained a carrer best 712 yards on 116 carries, a 6.1 yards per carry average, and scored three times.Buddy also caught 27 balls, scoring twice.

Young was also a superb return specialist. In his first year, he scored a touchdown on 8 punt return attempts, and took a 95 yard kickoff for a score on 12 attempts. He also completed the only pass of his career on two attempts.

He was fifth in the AAFC in total yards, and was named Second Team All AAFC.

The 1948 season saw Buddy carry the ball 70 times and catch 12 passes, scoring fives times. He also returned just two punts and 12 kickoffs.

He rebounded the next year, returning nine punts for 171 yards and 11 kickoffs for 316 yards. One kickoff return went 91 yards for a score.

He also ran for 495 yards on 76 carries, a 6.5 yards per carry average, caught 12 passes, and scored a career best five rushing touchdowns. His eight TD's that year are his career high, and he was named Second Team All AAFC. He was named First Team All AAFC by the UPI and the Daily News.

The Yankees became the Yanks in 1950, and Young stayed with the team. He returned 20 kickoffs and nine punts. He caught 20 balls for 302 yards, and ran the ball 76 times for 334 yards, and scored twice. He also lead the league in fumble recoveries. The UPI named him Second Team All AAFC.

In 1951, he had a career high 508 yards on 31 receptions, along with an additional 165 yards rushing and four scores. Young led the NFL with a 19.3 punt return average, returning 12 for 231 yards. He scored a touchdown on a 79 yard return. He also returned 14 kickoffs, scoring once on a 90 yard return.

The Yanks became the Dallas Texans in 1952, and Buddy stayed with the team. He ran for 243 yards, caught 22 balls, scored five times, and led the NFL with 23 kick returns for 643 yards.

The Texans became the Baltimore Colts the next year, and Buddy was still with the team. He returned 11 kicks for 378 yards, a career high 34.4 yards per return average, and scored on a 104 yard return. It was the second longest return at the time in NFL history, and is still the 13th longest ever.

Buddy made his lone All Pro squad in 1954. He averaged 18 yards per catch on 15 receptions, ran for 311 yards, and scored five times.

In his last season as a player in 1955, Young averaged a career high 22.4 yards per reception on 19 catches, and ran for 87 yards. He scored twice, and also returned nine kickoffs. He then retired and became the first Colt to have his jersey retired.

Buddy continued to break new ground after retirement. He became the first African-American to be hired as an executive by the NFL, and later was named Director of Player Relations.

He was a tough man who preferred to play without a facemask and hardly any pads. He was the fastest player in the NFL at one time, and once tied the 60-yard indoor dash record of 6.1 seconds. He even beat a horse in a 100 yard dash while with the Colts.

Buddy Young is a member of the The Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C. National Intercollegiate All-American Football Players Honor Roll and the College Football Hall Of Fame.

PUNTER : George "Fat" Tiliaferro

George was the first African-American drafted in the NFL, when the Bears drafted him in the 13th round in 1949. He opted to join the Los Angeles Dons in the AAFC instead.

He ran the ball 95 times for 472 yards and 5 TD's, as well as attempting a career high 124 passes with 4 more scores. George also punted the ball 27 times, and returned two punts. One return went 51 yards for a score. He also led the AAFC with five fumble recoveries.

George joined the Yankees the next year, and would stay with the team through many moves from New York, then thru Dallas, and ending in Baltimore. He then played in three games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1955, then retired.

For a three year stretch from 1951 to 1953, Taliaferro was an All Pro. He was a jack of all trades, and his finest season may have been in 1951 with the Yanks. He led the NFL in kickoff returns, kickoff return yards, punts, and punt return yards.

Taliaferro is a noted legend from the state of Indiana. He went to Indiana University, and was an All American. George led the Hoosiers to their only undefeated Big Ten Championship in his senior year, and is a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame.

KICKER : Harvey Johnson

Harvery was a sixth round draft pick by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1943 NFL Draft, but had to serve in the military during the war. He would join the Yankees in 1946.

He carried the ball 16 times that year, the only rushing attempts of his career, and gained 63 yards. He also snatched 2 receptions, and had the only interception of his career.

Johnson was mainly used as the Yankees kicker. In his four years with the team, he made 178 out of 180 extra point attempts, and 22 of 38 field goal attempts.

He led the AAFC in extra points attempted and made in 1947, and field goals attempted and made in the 1949 season.

Harvey sat out the 1950 season, but suited up for the Yanks in 1951. He made all 31 of his extra points attempted, and six of his 14 attempted field goals. He retired as a player after that season.

He then became a coach and scout. He joined the expansion Buffalo Bills in inaugural 1960 season of the last version of the AFL. He served as their secondary coach, then as their director of player personnel.

The Bills fired their head coach, Joe Collier, one game into the 1968 season, and Harvey took his place. The Bills won one game that year, and he stepped down afterwards. He stayed with the team, and had to coach the Bills again in 1971. Buffalo won just one game, the worst record in the franchises history, and Harvey became a scout for the Bills until his death in 1983.

Harvey is on the far left in the second row

HEAD COACH : Ray Flaherty

Flaherty is best known as the man who invented the screen pass play, and was a long time player and coach. His coaching success came with the Washington Redskins, where he led the team to two championship wins.

After his seven years with the Redskins, he joined the Navy for one year. After serving, Flaherty returned to coach a new incarnation of the Yankees in 1946, and stayed there until mid-way into the 1948 season. He left mid-way in the 1948 season, and would coach the AAFC Chicago Hornets the next season.

Ray led the team to two AAFC title games, and his 22 wins are the most by any coach in Yankees history. He was inducted into Canton in 1976 for his contributions to the game.

Jack McBride coached two versions of the Yankees, and deserves mention as well.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

BETTER Than Invincible

Herb Mul-Key : BETTER Than Invincible

Hollywood has a way of skewering stories. Especially when it comes to leaving out facts. Vince Papale was not some kid who came off the street to make the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976.

Papale, in fact, had played professional football already in 1974 for the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League.

Papale also did not take part in the open tryouts shown in the movie. He had a private workout.

Maybe the producers of the movie felt these facts might have made the story less impressive, but it should not.

Papale deserves all the credit and success he earns. Making the NFL is extremely hard.

One other fact left out is where Eagles coach Dick Vermeil got his idea of an open tryout from.

Vermeil was the very first special teams coach in NFL history, under the guidance of Hall Of Fame coaches Sid Gillman and George Allen, while with the Los Angeles Rams in 1969. Allen had convinced Gillman of how critical special teams were, thus a now common coaching position was born.

Allen became the head coach of the Washington Redskins in 1971. One of his first moves was proclaiming that he would take every step possible to improve the Redskins. He traded off most of his draft picks for veterans, many of whom had played for him with the Rams and Chicago Bears.

The media dubbed his squad "The Ramskins", and the most famous moniker "The Over The Hill Gang".

Allen also announced to the public that he would hold open tryouts to anyone willing to help the Redskins win. He held the tryouts at Georgetown University.

In that first year, he found one gem in the crowd. Otis Sistrunk, the older brother of Redskins defensive tackle Manny, made it to the teams training camp. Otis Sistrunk was cut before the season began, but ended up making the Oakland Raiders the next season. Otis played in the NFL until 1978, helping the Raiders win Super Bowl XI. He also was named to the 1974 Pro Bowl squad.

Seeing the possibilities in finding talent outside of the normal draft process, Allen again held tryouts in 1972 at Georgetown University.

About this same time, Redskins linebacker Harold McLinton decided to call up a long time friend, and former high school teammate, of his.

Herbert Felton Mul-Key had not played college football since his freshman year at Alabama State University. He was used as a running back and punter. He left the college after that year due to personal reasons, even joining the Navy for a period of time.

He had been working, but still played semi-pro football in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. He was well known by many NFL Legends already.

While in high school, he used to work out with such greats as Hall Of Fame Quarterback Fran Tarkenton, then of the New York Giants, his teammate Willie Williams, a Pro Bowl cornerback who led the NFL in interceptions in 1968, Frank Pitts, a wide receiver who helped the Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl IV, and wide receiver John Gilliam, a four time Pro Bowl player.

Herb borrowed money from his parents, then made the trip to Washington D.C. for the tryouts. When he got there, he blew away special teams coach Marv Levy, a Hall Of Famer, by running the forty yard dash in 4.34 seconds on a wet and muddy field. The Redskins signed Mul-Key to a contract right away.

George Allen is widely known as a coach who did not want to play rookies. Plus, he had a team of stars already on the roster.

The 1972 Redskins featured Hall Of Fame players Sonny Jurgensen and Charlie Taylor, as well as many players who went to the Pro Bowl in their careers.

Men like Chris Hanburger, Pat Fischer, Jerry Smith, Larry Brown, Myron Pottios, Roy Jefferson, Billy Kilmer, Len Hauss, Leslie "Speedy" Duncan, Alvin Haymond, Jack Pardee, Rich Peititbon, Verlon Biggs, Ron McDole, Diron Talbert, Walter Rock, Clifton McNeil, and Curt Knight.

Many of these men are member of the 70 Greatest Redskins Team, as are fellow teammates Brig Owens, Mike Bass, and Rusty Tillman.

Several of these Redskins went on to be successful coaches in the NFL, including Pardee, Petitbon, and Sam Wyche, the teams third string quarterback.

Herb spent most of the year on the taxi squad, which is now called the practice squad these days. The Redskins stormed out to a 11-1 record, but had sustained several injuries along the way.

Back then, a team could only carry forty players on a roster. Allen then took advantage of a loophole in the rules, thus initiating another now commonly used practice by all teams. He decided to activate Mul-Key against the Dallas Cowboys before the thirteenth game of the season, and deactivated an injured player from his roster.

Allen informed Mul-Key he would be taking many significant snaps in the Dallas game, and told him to get ready. Herb then went out to the Redskins practice field, the day before the game, to prepare.

While practicing a running play, Herb slipped on the astro turf the Redskins used on their practice field. He fell hard on his left shoulder, and ended up breaking off a third on the joint of his rotator cuff.

Understand, the NFL was a mans game then. Herb did not go on the disabled list, nor cry to the coaches to sit him out. The Redskins just strapped his arm, by tape, around his waist. He was ready to go.

Mul-Key served as the backup halfback against the Cowboys, but led the team with 60 yards rushing on just eight carries. He also caught 2 passes for 38 yards in the Redskins loss.

While the Redskins had two of the greatest return specialists in NFL history in Duncan and Haymond, Herb served as the primary kickoff returner and ended up returning six kickoffs for 173 yards in that game.

His 271 total yards are a Washington Redskins record for most yards by a player in his debut game in the NFL.

Herb then was used as the primary ball carrier in the last game of the season against the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo featured Hall Of Fame Running Back O.J. Simpson, and Mul-key would end up matching him stride for stride.

Mul-Key carried the ball a team leading 25 times for 95 yards. Both are career highs. He would score his first touchdown on an 8 yard run. He also led the team with two receptions for 28 yards, the last receptions of his career, as well as returning two kickoffs for 38 yards.

Buffalo would win the game late in the fourth quarter, being led by Simpson's 101 yards rushing and a touchdown, but Mul-Key actually gained more yards that day on offense than O.J.

Allen was so impressed by Mul-Key's performance, that he kept the rookie on the roster for the teams second playoff appearance since 1945.

In the Redskins first playoff game, Mul-Key returned two kickoffs for 60 yards in the teams victory against the Green Bay Packers. One of his returns went for 42 yards.

Though Herb did not record a statistic in the NFC Championship game, the Redskins stomped Dallas 26-3.

Then Washington faced the undefeated Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII. Before the game, Mul-Key was garnering press notice, and had his story run in the Los Angeles Times. Herb got his hands on one kickoff, and returned it 15 yards.

The Redskins would end up losing the game 14-7 in game most remembered by Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian having a fumble picked up by by Bass for a touchdown.

Mul-Key went into the 1973 season as the Redskins main kick return specialist, though he was also used to return punts on occasion. He ended up being third in the NFL that season with 1,114 yards on kick and punt returns.

Herb helped the Redskins lead the NFL in average yards per kick return, something they have done a league leading eight times and twice with Mul-Key as a returner.

He averaged 28.1 yards on 36 kickoff returns for 1,011 yards, which was second most in the NFL that year, while returning 11 punts for 103 yards. He also scored a touchdown on a kick return.

In that game, in the second game of the season against the Saint Louis Cardinals, saw Washington give up a 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to the Cardinals Don Shy. Herb said he was "knocked woozy" defending on that play.

On the ensuing kickoff, Mul-Key responded by taking the ball 97 yards for his score. In that game, Herb accumulated 225 yards on six kickoff returns.

This is still a Redskins franchise record for the most kickoff return yards in a single game. Herb was not used much in the running game that year, carrying the ball just 8 times for 20 yards.

The Redskins season ended with a playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings, where Mul-Key gained 69 yards on 3 kickoff returns and 10 more yards on a punt return.

Herb Mul-Key was named to the 1973 Pro Bowl Team for his efforts that season.

The game was played in Kansas City, Missouri that year, but the weather was a bitter cold five degrees. The NFC decided to practice in San Diego, California to prepare.

Herb recalls that game fondly because he got to play with, "Some of the best who ever played the game of football. Men like Willie Lanier, Jack Tatum, Ray Guy, and George Atkinson."

One play he remembers most was running into Tatum, a safety with the Oakland Raiders. Tatum hit him so hard that he knocked Herb's helmet off, and it popped back on after Mul-Key's head slammed onto the turf. Herb needed 32 stitched on his upper gums afterwards.

By 1974, his shoulder was aching more and more. Playing three years with a broken shoulder was problem enough, since medical science had not yet learned how to fix a rotator cuff, but it kept slipping out of its joint.

Also, a series of doctors could not figure out that his rotater cuff was damaged back then. Herb used to be able to pop the shoulder in back into place from day to day, but it was no longer staying in its proper place.

He managed to suit up for seven games that season, and returned a career high 13 punt returns for 140 yards. He also returned 10 kickoffs for 285 yards. In addition, Herb carried the ball once for three yards.

After the season was over, Herb found out from the media that he had been traded to the Baltimore Colts. The Colts had just hired Ted Marchibroda, the Redskins Offensive Coordinator from 1972 to 1974, as their head coach.

Though he joined the Colts in training camp, he would end up being cut at the conclusion of the preseason. He then went up north to play in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes.

That year, Herb was the backup running back behind 1971 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers. Rodgers had just led Montreal to a championship the year before, was a CFL All Star, and winner of the Jeff Russell Memorial Trophy twice. The Alouettes would return to the Grey Cup, the CFL Championship game, but lost.

During the offseason, Herb was training to stay in shape. He blew out his knee during a pickup football game, thus ending his professional football career.

He is currently ranked second all time in Redskins franchise history with a career average of 27.87 yards per kickoff return behind Hall Of Famer Bobby Mitchell.

Mul-Key has many fond memories of his time in the NFL, and the people he came into contact with.

He was very popular with his teammates, and admired.

"You really appreciate a guy who comes from nowhere to make it.", said Fischer, a long time cornerback of the Redskins.

He is thankful for the opportunity George Allen gave him to play on "a team of All Stars" , and said Allen ran the team, "much like you may see George Steinbrenner run the Yankees today". Allen had complete control of all personnel matters, and was an expert at evaluating and molding talent.

He was also close to fellow Redskins running back Duane Thomas. Thomas is best known for leading the Dallas Cowboys to the franchises first championship win in Super Bowl VI.

He was just grateful he was able to perform and make his mark on the game and its history, as well as meet and learn from all of the people he encountered in his football career.

"You do with what you have", Herb says.

Herb attributes his success in returning kicks from his times playing sandlot football. "We played a game called 'running thru', where you would have no blockers in front of you."

He still enjoys watching sports these days, but realizes that there are many players today are in it for money more than the love of the game.

"From 1972 to 1974, the average NFL salary was $29,000. I was happy to have made that, but we all had to work steady jobs year round to make ends meet. Today's NFL seems to forget what we had to go through to make the game what it is currently. The NFL Players Association disrespects all of us former players, and doesn't give us our fair share."

His favorite athletes of all time roll quickly off of his tongue.

"Number one is Jim Brown. Then two and three are Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders. Not just because of the fact they played two sports, but because of their reflexes and speed. Baseball helped Jackson and Sanders gain an edge with speed and momentum."

He thinks that Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, has too much control of the game and makes many extremely poor and heavy handed decisions.

"The groundwork laid by Pete Rozelle, the NFL Commissioner from 1960 to 1989, has long been forgotten and is now ignored by a guy who supposedly was his protegee."

He also thinks all of the rule changes have greatly taken away from the game, especially the intentional grounding rule.

"The game played in the NFL today is almost a sissy game. I saw Y.A. Tittle, a Hall Of Fame quarterback, have blood coming out of his ears, nose, and eyes. He kept going back out on the field and playing."

When you look at the football career of Herb Mul-Key, you see more than the history of the game. You see the present state of it.

The NFL Draft has shortened the number of rounds in their draft up until 1994, the current format of seven rounds. Training camp about to soon be shortened as well, so you may be having less chances of seeing men like Herb play in the NFL.

These recent moves can only bode well for the CFL and the newly formed New United States Football League set to start out in 2010.

There are many NFL Legends who were not first round draft picks, and they were able to make their marks through hard work in training camp and preseason games. Now with NFL reducing these opportunities, others will give it to them.

Herb Mul-Key had a career that is worth cherishing and praising. He lead the life of most of us dreamers wish we could attain. To just be able to play professional football is an amazing achievement, let alone being one of the best at it and being honored as an All Pro.

He also achieved this with heart, dedication, and toughness. Realizing he played the game, as a running back, for over four years with a broken shoulder is an absolutely stunning accomplishment.

Walter Mitty is a fictional character from a book that dreams of being more than what he presently is. Many sports fans are comprised of such a person. Either they have played the games to a certain point, or were unable to. They admire those who do, and wish they could live at least one day in the athletes shoes on the playing field.

Herb Mul-Key, on the other hand, is a real person. He went out and realized his dreams. He wore those shoes we all wish we could fit into.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Peeling off that crusty and stained boa feather, it is once again time for POINTLESS PONDERING. That unretiring showgirl pulling her nipples out of her socks.

It is tough to say goodbye for some. Sports is not exempt from this. We have seen guys like Muhammed Ali hang on too long, and guys like Jim Brown get out ahead of the game.

Sports has said farewell to a few lately in different ways.

John Madden got off the bus, and now will chill at home full time. Madden was known as an intense coach in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders, an actor in several commercials, a long time sports journalist, and a video game mogul.

The Onion is a humor "news"paper. They did a tribute to Madden by doing timeline on him. Many were funny, but the one I liked best said, "1936: Mary Margaret Madden feels what she believes is her child kicking, but is in actuality her unborn son John eating his twin brother."

There are rumblings about the return of Brett Farve

Teams know what they get with him as far as an experienced Hall of Fame bound player. There is that much talked about moxie and flare. There are other opinions, but let's just stick with facts. In 273 regular season games, Favre has coughed up the ball 376 times to the opposition. That is an average of 1.4 turnovers per game. I just hope Vinny Cerrato, of the Washington Redskins, isn't trying to convince owner Dan Snyder to sign him. Still, I wish Brett well. It is America, and he should play as long as both he and any interested team wants it to happen.

I almost feel like waving adios to the Washington Nationals already. Has ANYONE even noticed that Ryan Zimmerman is in the midst of an electric 29 game hitting streak? It is the second longest by any third baseman in the history of major league baseball. I have been a fan of this man since the day he put on a Nationals uniform. He has the best glove in thre hot corner since Brooks Robinson, the greatest ever. The Nationals may not be winning much, but they aren't selling many seats in their ballpark either. This is how D.C. has lost two baseball teams already. It is time for the Nationals public relations department to get busy, because this is a rare feat that Zimmerman is achieving at present time.

Then there are departures through mortality itself.

Here are a few recent partings that has me thankful for the moments shared, and saddened by the realization there will be no more.

Goodbye Dom DeLuise aka Captain Chaos

Peace Harry Kalas

Harry and Ritchie Are Back Together Again

A Bike Ride Is Ending, But The Mission Continues. Spread the Word!


The Kids Still Need Our Help!

My friend did an interview with me recently, and I might put some of it in this blog. He is on tour, so grab a ticket for yourself if he heads your way.

MY Favorite Instrumental By Him

Well, it's that time to make like a baby and head out. Like they say on Ol' Mexico = A.M.F.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Redskins May Gamble Again

The Washington Redskins went into the 2009 draft needing to bolster the edges of both sides of the ball. Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins Executive Vice President of Football Operations, did draft two linebacker projects on the second day of the draft. Perhaps his best move was signing veteran linebacker Robert Thomas recently.

Thomas, a former first round draft choice of the St. Louis Rams in 2000, played in just two games for the Oakland Raiders in 2008. He has never started every game in a season, and has played a full season only twice in his career thus far.

He is being expected to take over for the departed Marcus Washington at the strong side of the defense. The only other viable option is having defensive end Brian Orakpo, their first round draft choice this year, play a hybrid linebacker on obvious run situations.

The teams defensive ends are not an impressive unit as a whole. They recently inked two veterans, Phillip Daniels and Reynaldo Wynn, to provide better run stopping support. The reserves are all undersized, thus making the linebackers jobs even more important.

If Washington ends up going into the season with their current roster, there could be big troubles for the team if injuries occur on the edges of the defense.

The Redskins expect newly signed Albert Haynesworth to clog the middle with their other defensive tackles. Opponents will then try exploit Washington while staying away from the middle of the Redskins defense.

This thrusts the defensive ends and outside linebackers into the spotlight. Daniels has not been able to stay healthy an entire season the past few years, and is 36 years old.

Wynn is 35 years old, and will be competing with Daniels for the starting job opposite Andre Carter. Chris Wilson is the other defensive end in the mix, but is strictly a pass rusher and weighs 246 lbs.

The question is what the Redskins will do with Orakpo. He has very little experience as a linebacker, and he was drafted to bolster the pass rush from the defensive end position. If he stays there, the Redskins have virtually no experienced players behind Thomas on the depth chart as a strong side linebacker.

On the other side of the ball, the Redskins seem set at offensive tackle on paper only. Their starters, Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen, have both been to the Pro Bowl multiple times. Both, however, have battled various injuries over the past several years.

Washington got a boost in 2007 from undrafted rookie Stephon Heyer after an injury to Jansen. Heyer did struggle with his own injuries in 2008, but did start in seven of the nine games he appeared in.

The question of depth is still trying to be addressed by the team. They recently signed Mike Williams, a former first round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2002, who has been out of football for over two years. He was recently reported to weighing as much as 400 lbs, so he appears to be a long shot at helping the team in any fashion.

The Redskins have one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL in Joe Bugel. Bugel is the architect of the "Hogs", a group of offensive linemen that led the Redskins to four Super Bowls between 1982 to 1992. In Williams, he has a massive project in every sense of the word.

If both Samuels and Jansen get injured in 2009, Washington could find themselves in big trouble. The question of quality depth behind Heyer could rear its head. The Redskins hope that Williams will be inspired to realize his potential. He is rejoining his college teammate Derrick Dockery, a guard who recently returned to the team after playing in Buffalo the past two seasons.

It appears the Redskins will be keeping their eye on the waiver wire as training camps progress. They need to get better especially on the defensive side of the ball. Their division rivals all feature quick running backs, and they have the ability to exploit Washington.

This weakness could subject their veteran cornerbacks to injuries from trying to support the run more than expected.

As things stand right now, Washington is going into another season gambling with the few solid pieces they have. It could end up getting them back to a recurrent theme of mediocrity that has been prevalent in the Vinny Cerrato era.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009



Rob Ryan is a chip off the ol' block. Buddy has to be proud. The Jets blitzed this draft, much like Buddy used to have his defenses. ALL OUT! Leaving nothing in reserve. They traded up to get Sanchez, and hope he can be the QB the Jets have sought since Ken O'Brien. I have a feeling Sanchez will hand the ball off for awhile, much like Joe Flacco did in Baltimore. The Jets have talent, but they need a QB who won't turn the ball over. There is a chance, however, that Sanchez starts out on the the bench. Getting Greene was a very smart move. Jones and Washington might be on another team next season. The Jets then packed up for the day, and did not return until the sixth round. They grabbed a big guard in Slauson, a guy who run blocks well. Since the Jets have literally no depth at TE, they then grabbed a few after the draft. Rob Myers is often compared to Chris Cooley, and not just because they attended the same college. If Myers can stay healthy, he has a shot. They also grabbed some defensive line help, including Jamaal Westerman of Rutgers. The Jets obviously feel as if they are on the cusp of serious contention, as their draft strategy was super aggressive. It should be fun to see how close they are this year under their new coach.



Buffalo had a draft that was both easy to predict and hard to fathom at times. They went for upside, by grabbing Maybin. He might not be more than a pass rush specialist this year, because he is so raw and inexperienced, but he has the athleticism to be special. Wood was a good pick, because many felt the Steelers were poised to grab him. A surly and smart player, he might start day one. Many question the speed of Byrd, but not his intelligence and D.N.A. I imagine he will play FS, and this is a position worth watching. The Bills were recently shopping around Ko Simpson, the starter, and just resigned his backup, George Wilson, to a contract that more than doubles Simpson's. Getting Levitre was a smart move, because they had no guard depth. Nelson gives them a weapon at TE they needed, a guy who can stretch the seam. He might end up being lined up all over the place as a second TE. Getting Nick Harris was confusing. He is too slow to be a SS, his college position, and too small to be an OLB. Maybe they think he will be a special teams star? Drafting Cory Harris was a very good move. He is a sound CB, and he might Youboty out. Lankster is another CB with potential, and he might supplant the other reserve, Corner, on the roster. Many were clamoring for OT reinforcements, especially after trading their All Pro Peters to Philadelphia. After the draft, they got an intriguing prospect in Joel Bell. He will need a few years, but he has the ability to start one day. Buffalo then went local, and grabbed QB Drew Willy. Willy needs a lot of work with Schonert, but he may replace Hamden as the third string QB. Buffalo has been drafting well the past few years, and this draft resembles that. It is certainly possible every kid, that they drafted, makes the team.



The Tuna had a few extra draft picks to play with, so he took advantage of it. Grabbing Davis first was excellent, as was the choice of Smith. These two CB's could be staples in the Miami secondary for years. White might do a "slash" type of role for the next few years, but he has the ability to be an NFL QB one day. Turner and Hartline are possession type of WR's, and hopefully will help the offense. Nalbone is a small college TE, but Tuna must like his upside. It will be fun to see what happens to him through the years. Clemons is a very athletic safety who will need a few years to be groomed. Gardner is a smart player who will try to provide OL depth. Folsom is a hard nosed OLB whose best shot might be via special teams. Miami had a stellar first draft day, but a second day full of projects. Time will tell if those kids will add to the teams sudden improvement.



Watching the Patriots on draft day is like watching a superstar go to work. They had twelve draft picks this year, and used six to help their trenches. Chung might start at SS right away, and he could team with Merriweather to give the Patriots one of the better safety tandems for the next several years. Brace is very good in run support, and should bolster the DL rotation. Butler might be an absolute steal. He could provide them a starting CB and good kickoff returner for many years. Vollmer will be groomed slowly to be a future starter at RT. Tate was an impressive pick. He might not be ready until 2010, but the guy is a spectacular return specialist with good upside at WR. McKenzie is a swift OLB, and should add depth. Ohrnberger and Bussey will be slowly groomed to hopefully be the starting guards in the future. Ingram was the best LS in the draft, and fills an important need. Pryor and Richard are two undersized DT's who are best at stopping the run. They may have a shot at providing depth. It will be interesting to see what the Patriots do with Edelman, a college QB. He is very athletic, so they may try him as a WR, or even run the "wildcat" offense once in awhile. After the draft, they grabbed a QB in Brian Hoyer. ESPN's Todd McShay really likes Hoyer, so maybe the kid can be the future QB? Antonio Appelby is a smart ILB, so he may get to add depth. Though it is uncertain how many of these draft picks make the team, they are all quality players. New England has seemed to draft many of them over the last decade. Some, who don't make the team after the draft, go on to help other teams. Justin Rogers of Dallas is just one example I can recall off the top of my head. The best part of the Patriot draft was how they traded down to get more future draft choices.



The defending champs already have a excellent roster, obviously, but they had an excellent draft that made it better. Hood fell in their laps, and should help in the DE rotation. Urbik is a road grader, and has a shot at starting pretty soon. Wallace is a very fast WR who can help on the return game. Lewis and Burnett add needed depth at CB, and Burnett can help as a kick return specialist. Summers hopefully will help as shortage back. Harris is a project the Steelers hope can provide NT depth. Shipley could be a real steal. He is ultra smart and never gives up. He could be the starting center one day. Johnson will try to make it as an H-Back type. After the draft, Pittsburgh grabbed Mike Reilly, a QB, and might develop him on the taxi squad this year. Pittsburgh aggressively attacked all of their needs. But then again, the Steelers have generally been drafting gold since the 1970's.



In my opinion, the Browns had one of the best drafts this year in the NFL. Not only did they trade down, saving themselves millions of dollars, but they got extra draft picks from doing so. They then got the guy they targeted all along in Mack. He might start day one. They then grabbed Robiskie to give them a reliable WR. Massaquoi had a excellent senior year in college, and Cleveland thinks he can help a WR group in need of quality depth. Veikune is a relentless worker, and might get a look at DE or SLB. Maivia is excellent on special teams, and should add depth at WLB. Carey and Francies could be steals, and provide the Browns with two quality CB's for years. Davis has the ability to take over for Lewis as the primary ball carrier. After the draft, Cleveland grabbed QB Graham Harrell, a smart player who might have a shot. They attacked most of their needs in the draft with gusto. I thought they got great value with each pick.



The Bengals 2009 draft mirrored the Marvin Lewis era, as far as being up and down. They drafted Smith when Monroe was still on the board. It is a huge gamble. Smith has struggled with his weight his entire career, as well as having well documented character issues. He also can be lazy. He reminds me of former Raider first round draft pick Robert Gallery, meaning he might be better suited to playing guard. The Bengals have been trying to trade veteran starter Levi Jones, but have found no takers for that talented and injury prone LT. Monroe grades better as both a run and pass blocker, and is more ready to be a LT. Hopefully Smith realizes his potential, or the oft-injured Carson Palmer might find himself being hurt again soon. Maualuga was a steal, and he solves the Bengals woes at MLB immediately. Johnson is a project, but Cincy hopes he can help their defensive line. Coffman has the chance to be the best pick of the draft for Cincy, and gives Palmer the pass catching TE he has been needing. Luigs was a great pick, and he has the ability to win the starting job at center soon. Huber was a strange pick, considering the more highly rated Morstead was still on the board. They hope Trent can help provide CB depth. Scott has the ability to win the starting RB job, but he needs to stay out of trouble off the field. Vakapuna will try to be a short yardage specialist. McDonald is a hard working player who hopes to add to the Bengals DT rotation. Brown will try to be the big WR the Bengals need after losing Houshmanzadeh to free agency. After the draft, they grabbed WR Quan Cosby to try to add depth to their WR group. Bengal fans have been aching for a winning team since the days of Boomer Esiason. The front office needs for the gambles they took in the draft to pay off.



Ozzie Newsome isn't just one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, he is also one of the best GM'S in all sports. This year was just another demonstration. He moved up to grab Oher. The Ravens got saved by veteran RT Willie Anderson last year, now Oher is expected to take over. Kruger adds depth, and might push Jarrett Johnson for the starting job soon. Webb is a very good athlete, and will be groomed to be Ed Reed's heir apparent. Phillips is an ultra smart ILB, and gets to learn from Ray Lewis. Drew is a raw TE prospect who might stick and be developed. Peerman was a good pick, because they need depth. After the draft, they grabbed the highest rated kicker in Graham Gano to push Matt Stover. Gano can also punt. Stover is the only player in the NFL who played with the original Cleveland Browns franchise. Dannell Ellerbe is an ILB who has the ability to provide quality depth, but needs to mature. Jared Cook was an excellent pick up, and could fill the needed role of blocking fullback.The Ravens still need WR help, but obviously Ozzie felt none were worth the reach. Plus, they smartly restocked their defense, the key to their success.



Bill Polian is another of the most respected GM's in the NFL. He grabbed Brown to give the Colts more weapons on offense. Addai now doesn't have to try to carry the load alone. Moala was a big need pick, because the Colts are so thin at DT. Powers will try to provide CB depth. Collie is a steady possession WR, and should help add depth. Taylor is another DT, and should see action right away. Painter broke many of Purdue's passing records, and now he gets to learn from Peyton Manning. McAfee was drafted to be the punter. Thomas was an interesting pick, and he has the ability to start one day. After the draft, they grabbed Cornelius Lewis to add guard depth. If Lewis stays out of trouble and realizes his potential, he can help. Pat Kuntz has a chance to add DL depth. The Colts had a solid draft, and filled the areas they needed help at most.



Jacksonville started out their draft day by dancing for joy. They got Monroe somehow, the most polished LT in the draft. He may start day one. They followed that up by grabbing Britton, a RT they might kick inside to guard. Then they grabbed Knighton, a huge kid, to fill a very necessary need. He should play right away. After that, they gambled on a kid who was not on a lot of draft boards in Cox. They gave up a second round pick next year for him, but expect him to contribute immediately. They then smartly added to their WR corps, by drafting Thomas and Dillard. Both have a very good chance in helping the team right away. Jack Del Rio seems to like taking college QB's, then switching their position. Miller will learn the TE spot, and will be taught by Jags coach Mike Tice. Tice is a former college QB who had a very long NFL career at TE. Jennings was a need pick at RB, and he has a good chance to help take some of the workload off of Jones - Drew. Underwood has skills, but needs a lot of work. After the draft, the Jags signed two QB's in Nathan Brown and Tyler Lorenzen. Lorenzen, whose huge big brother Jared is also an NFL QB, has the better size and arm than the more polished Brown. Jaime Navarre is another guy to watch. A relentless motor, the undersized DT hopes to add to the rotation. Jacksonville smartly bolstered their leaky OL, got quality WR's, and a kid to help Henderson at DT. A good draft day.



I had the Texans taking Maclin, thinking it could put the offense amongst the very best in the NFL, but I cannot fault them for grabbing Cushing. He fills a bigger need, but he has been very, very injury prone in college. A hard worker who never gives up, he has not shown much ability to defend the pass. Playing against teams like Indianapolis, twice a year, will expose this. He is basically a pass rusher, who is pretty good at defending the run. Time will tell if the Texans made the right decision. Barwin can play tight end and linebacker and defensive end. He also is a special teams star as well, with an innate ability to block kicks. He will help Houston wherever they line him up, but he seems destined to bookend Mario Williams at DE. Caldwell is a center who is best at run blocking. He is very smart, and is a team leader. I have a feeling Alex Gibbs will coach him up to be a long time NFL player, and the future starter. Quin is very physical CB, and is a big hitter. He is strong, and likes to support the run. He has been injured several times in college, and is not very quick. Quin could make an impact on special teams, and as a reserve, as he learns. Many felt Hill was the best blocking tight end in the draft, and he will basically serve as a third offensive tackle when he is on the field. Casey is versatile and mature. Expect seeing him line up all over the field as an H-Back, fullback, and slot receiver. McCain is a speed merchant. He is not a big man, is very raw, and needs a lot of work on his CB technique. Nolan is a hard hitting SS with good speed. He is very raw, and needs work on his pass coverage technique. A possible sleeper pick who could start one day down the road. After the draft, they grabbed Arian Foster and Jeremiah Johnson to see if they can help add needed RB depth. They then signed Jason Watkins, a very athletic tackle from Florida. At one time, he was considered a first day draft choice until his stock fell in his senior year. If he takes to Gibb's coaching, the Texans could have a future starter.



I always like watching Jeff Fisher work a draft. He got the WR they sought in Britt, and hope he can be the go to guy. Marks was a need pick, after Haynesworth's departure, and the Titans will hope he realizes his potential. Cook is a very athletic TE, and he gives Tennessee a weapon they lacked. Mouton shot up draft boards in the last month, and he has the ability to help right away. A good need pick. McRath will be groomed to replace the aging Bullock one day. Kropog could be a steal. He is a smart and nasty OT. Ringer hopes to add depth at RB. McCourty is a CB who will need time to develop. Edison is blazing fast and tall WR. He will need some time to develop, but he can offer the Titans a weapon they lack. Durand will hope to add depth at guard, and Schommer hopes to stick via special teams. After the draft, the Titans grabbed a possible sleeper in WR Dudley Guice. A big and fast kid, he has a shot at helping a team needing pass catchers. Tennessee hit all of their primary areas of need. They grabbed a few projects to mold, and should have a good opportunity to keep winning often.



San Diego went into the draft needing few holes to fill. Getting English was a brilliant move. If Merriman isn't fully recovered, he can step in. If the lights are primed to go out again, English can bookend him. After losing Goff, the Bolts needed guards. They grabbed two in Vasquez and Green. Green is a project, but Vasquez has the ability to earn a starting job soon. They then went to Canada and grabbed Martin for NT depth. The kid is huge and strong, having done 44 reps of 225 at his pro day. He also gets to learn the trade from one of the very best in Williams. Johnson was another great pick. He adds needed depth at RB, and could be the guy who starts in the future. Hughes adds CB depth, and works best in a zone scheme. Ellison hopes to add solid SS depth. Byrd is a very fast WR, but probably wont play this year after a recent automobile accident. After the draft, the Chargers signed a lot of kids. A few that stand out to me as having a real shot are Kory Sperry, a versatile H-Back/ TE type, Darry Beckwith, a MLB who has starters potential one day, and Wopamo Osaisai, a special teams demon with blazing speed. San Diego had an excellent draft, bolstering their reserves and giving hopes to a bright future.



Al Davis has always been known for being aggressive in drafts, as well as taking chances of players others thought less of. Heyward - Bey was easily the fastest WR in the draft, and Al loves speed. Heyward - Bey made tremendous strides between his junior and senior year in college, is a hard worker, and team oriented. He needs some work still, but should provide Oakland the ability to stretch the field. Draft pundits, on both networks covering the draft, jumped all over Al for drafting Mitchell. They later found out that Chicago, two draft spots behind Oakland, had just told Mitchell they were getting ready to draft him. Big score for Oakland, and they get a guy who patterns his game after his hero Jack Tatum. Shaughnessy is a tall DE who needs some seasoning. Murphy has the ability to be a really good WR, but there are rumors he will need his surgically repaired knee worked on again. Norris and Sulak hope to provide depth to a thin LB unit. Myers was drafted to provide TE depth. After the draft, Oakland signed QB Chase Daniel, who has a shot as a reserve, and LB Franz Joseph, a tackling machine who needs to get stronger. Oakland needed safety and linebacker depth, and got it. Getting a WR who can get deep should help their strong armed quarterback too. Time will tell if the second day reaches will help.



The Chiefs decided to attack their defensive line needs right away in the draft. Jackson should start right away, and Magee should add depth this year. Washington is a solid CB, and adds needed depth. Brown is a project, but Kansas City hopes he can bolster their OL. Lawrence is a tough WR, willing to go over the middle. He has starting ability down the road. Williams was a good pick at their uncertain RB slot. O'Connell was a reach, and they hope he adds TE depth. Succop was another reach, considering there were several higher rated placekickers still on the board. After the draft, they picked up CB London Fryar, the son of ex NFL star Irving. The Chiefs got off the a very good start, but had a questionable ending. Time will tell on that.



Word is that Denver only had twenty five players on their draft board, but they did end up getting five. Moreno will be the guy who will carry the ball twenty times a game, a big need for Denver. Ayers was a guy they wanted all along. He might play DE or SLB in their 3-4 scheme. They traded next years first round pick for Smith, an excellent player who could supplant Goodman at CB. McBath gets to learn the safety position from Brian Dawkins this year, as well as help on special teams. Quinn is an excellent blocking TE, but his receiving skills are unknown because of the scheme his college ran. Bruton will help on special teams, and he can learn how to be a safety behind their veteran starters. Olsen is a mauler with good speed. He hopes to provide depth. McKinley is very fast, and hopes to make a team pretty set at the WR spot. Brandstater is a big QB coming off a down senior year, so it remains to be seen if he can help the team. Schlueter is a smart center who has the ability to start one day. After the draft, the Broncos grabbed some interesting prospects. Domonique Johnson is an athletic CB who needs some grooming, but could help on special teams. Marquez Branson is an H-Back type who has a shot at making it. Lee Robinson is an ILB who has the ability to start one day. Britton Colquitt is a punter who has several family members punt in college and the pros. He has the ability, but has character issues. They grabbed Rulon Davis, a DE built for the 3-4 system. He has a very good chance at helping. They then made a curious move signing Chris Baker. Baker, whose character issues are well documented, is not built for the 3-4 scheme which Denver employs. He is a DT made for a 4-3 system, but is not a NT type. It will be interesting to see what happens to him in camp. Everyone knew Denver needed to get better along the defensive line, but the team elected to just go after one guy in the draft. Getting depth at the OL was a good move, but it seems Denver went for the best athlete available over need. Considering their division rivals made good strides in the draft, it will fun to watch if Denver's gamble pays off.