This Week in NFL History: April 16 through April 22

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This Week in NFL History
Feb 6, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick speaks during the Super Bowl LI winning team press conference flanked by the Lombardi Trophy at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Relive and recapture iconic moments. Discover that you or a loved one share a birthday with a football legend. Recall an event that forever changed the landscape of the NFL and had a profound impact on your life. It’s all here in This Week in NFL History.

This Week in NFL History is a weekly article that will look back at some of the most memorable events that have occurred during this week historically in professional football. Each nugget is a tidbit of information that is connected to the NFL through history.


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This Week in NFL History

April 16

1928:  Cornerback Richard (Dick “Night Train”) Lane (Scottsbluff JC: 1947, Rams: 1952-53, Cardinals: 1954-59, Lions: 1960-65) born in Austin, Texas (d. 2002)

Career Stats: 68 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries, six defensive touchdowns, one safety, eight receptions for 253 yards and one touchdown. Lane was a seven-time Pro Bowler (1954-56, 1958, 1960-62), seven-time First-team All-Pro (1956-57, 1959-63), led the NFL in interceptions twice (1952, 1954), and set an NFL record for most interceptions in a season (14 in 1952) that still stands today. He was a member of the NFL 1950’s All-Decade Team and NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. Lane, who retired second all-time in career interceptions, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974. His 68 interceptions are currently ranked fourth all-time (Paul Krause, Emlen Tunnell, Rod Woodson).

1952:  Head coach William (Bill) Belichick (Browns: 1991-95, Patriots: 2000-present) born in Nashville, Tennessee

Career Record: 237-115 (Browns: 36-44, Patriots: 201-71) Postseason record: 26-10 (Browns: 1-1, Patriots: 25-9). Belichick, the NFL’s longest tenured active head coach, has led the Patriots to five Super Bowl victories (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI) in seven appearances (losing XLII and XLVI), only Curly Lambeau and George Halas have more league championships in NFL history (six). He is one of four head coaches to win four or more league championships (Lambeau, Halas, Chuck Noll). Belichick ranks fourth all-time in regular season wins (Don Shula, Halas, Tom Landry) and first all-time in postseason victories. He also served as Bill Parcells’ defensive coordinator with Giants on two Super Bowl champions (XXI, XXV). He reunited with Parcells as assistant head coach/defensive backs coach when Patriots reached Super Bowl XXXI. He is a three-time AP NFL Coach of the Year (2003, 2007, 2010). The Patriots have won 14 AFC East titles and made 11 appearances in the AFC Championship Game under Belichick.

1982:  Linebacker Jonathan Vilma (Miami {FL}: 2000-03, Jets: 2004-07, Saints: 2008-13) born in Coral Gables, Florida

Career Stats: 871 combined tackles (612 solo), 10.5 sacks, 35 passes defended, 12 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles, two defensive touchdowns. Vilma was the 2004 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2005, 2009, 2010), and won Super Bowl XLIV with Saints.

1984:  Cornerback Johnathan Joseph (South Carolina: 2004-05, Bengals: 2006-10, Texans: 2011-present) born in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Career Stats: 598 combined tackles (512 solo), 160 passes defended, 26 interceptions, five defensive touchdowns, and seven forced fumbles. Joseph was a Second-team All-Pro in 2011 and named to two Pro Bowls (2011, 2012).

1988:  Running back/return specialist Joe McKnight (USC: 2007-09, Jets: 2010-12, Chiefs: 2014, CFL Edmonton Eskimos: 2016, CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders: 2016) born in Kenner, Louisiana (d. 2016)

Career Stats: 113 carries for 505 yards, 23 receptions for 241 yards and two touchdowns, 79 kick returns for 2,270 yards and two touchdowns. McKnight scored the longest touchdown in Jets franchise history when he returned a kickoff 107 yard for his first career touchdown in a Sunday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens. He was shot and killed Dec. 1, 2016 by Ronald Gasser in an apparent road rage incident. Gasser was arrested for manslaughter but later indicted for second degree murder.

2013:  Placekicker George Allen (Pat) Summerall (Arkansas: 1949-51, Lions: 1952, Cardinals: 1953-57, Giants: 1958-61) died at age 82 in Dallas, Texas (b. 1930)

Career Stats: 100 field goals made in 212 attempts (47.2 percent), 257 extra points made in 265 attempts (97.0 percent). Summerall’s nickname reportedly came from the abbreviation for “point after touchdown”. He played in four NFL Championships: winning in 1952 with Lions and losing three times with Giants: 1958 (also known as The Greatest Game Ever Played), 1959, and 1961. Summerall is best remembered as one of television’s preeminent sportscasters. He called a record 16 Super Bowls on television, including eight with longtime partner John Madden, and contributed to another 10 on radio. He also announced 16 Masters Tournaments, 21 US Opens (tennis). Summerall was named National Sportscaster of the Year in 1977 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1994. He was also the recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994. Summerall was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1999. Since 2006, an award bearing his name has been presented the night before the Super Bowl to “a deserving recipient who through their career has demonstrated the character, integrity, and leadership both on and off the job that the name Pat Summerall represents”.

April 17

1935:  Defensive end Lamar Lundy (Purdue: 1954-57, Rams: 1957-69) born in Richmond, Indiana (d. 2007)

Career Stats: three interceptions, 10 fumbles recovered; 35 receptions for 584 yards and six touchdowns. Lundy, who lettered in football and basketball at Purdue, was an All-Pro in 1967 and a Pro Bowl selection in 1959. He was best known as the towering right end of the Fearsome Foursome, with Rosey Grier at right tackle and the Hall of Famers Deacon Jones at left end and Merlin Olsen at left tackle. Lundy, who stood at 6’7”, played tight end during his first seasons in the NFL before moving to defensive line. He was also drafted by the NBA’s St. Louis Hawks but chose to play in the NFL.

1961:  Quarterback Norman (Boomer) Esiason (Maryland: 1981-83, Bengals: 1984-92, Jets: 1993-95, Cardinals: 1996, Bengals: 1997) born in West Islip, New York

Career Stats: 2,969 completions in 5,205 attempts for 37,920 yards, 247 touchdowns and 184 interceptions. QB rating: 81.1; 447 carries for 1,598 yards and seven touchdowns. Esiason was the 1988 NFL Most Valuable Player, a 1988 First-team All-Pro, a four-time Pro Bowler (1986, 1988, 1989, 1993), and the 1995 Walter Payton Man of the Year. Esiason was best known for executing the no-huddle offense with Bengals. He led the Bengals to their most recent Super Bowl appearance, a 20-16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII. Esiason is currently an analyst for CBS’s The NFL Today and Showtime’s Inside the NFL. He is also a color commentator for Westwood One’s coverage of Monday Night Football and co-host of the nationally syndicated Boomer and Carton.

1972:  Offensive tackle Don Bosco Anthony (Tony) Boselli Jr. (USC: 1991-94, Jaguars: 1995-2001, Texans: 2002) born in Modesto, California

Career Stats: Boselli started in 90 of 91 career NFL games. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection (1996-2000), a three-time First-team All-Pro (1997-99), and a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. Boselli was the first player selected in the Houston Texans expansion draft but never played for them due to injuries

1979:  Cornerback Fredrick (Fred) Smoot (Mississippi State: 1997-2000, Redskins: 2001-04, Vikings: 2005-06, Redskins: 2007-09) born in Jackson, Mississippi

Career Stats: 444 combined tackles (385 solo), 66 passes defended, 21 interceptions, five forced fumble, one defensive touchdown

1999:  Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch is selected first overall by expansion Cleveland Browns in NFL Draft. Besides Couch, four other quarterbacks were selected in the first round: Syracuse’s Donovan McNabb (2nd-Eagles), Oregon’s Akili Smith (3rd-Bengals), Central Florida’s Daunte Culpepper (11th-Vikings), and UCLA’s Cade McNown (12th-Bears). Despite drawing comparisons to the celebrated quarterback class of 1983, the 1999 class wasn’t nearly as successful. Only McNabb (who was booed when selected) and Culpepper made it to Pro Bowls in their careers. McNabb is the only one who made it to a Super Bowl. The draft is also notable because the New Orleans Saints traded their entire draft for Texas running back and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams.

April 18

1940:  Attorney Edward R. (Ed) Garvey born in Burlington, Wisconsin (d. 2017). Garvey was the third Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (1971-1983). His tenure as executive director was marked by two strikes (1974, 1982) and frequent antitrust lawsuits against the NFL. The most famous lawsuit, Mackey v. NFL, ruled that antitrust laws applied to the NFL’s restrictions on player movement. Garvey was succeeded as NFLPA Executive Director by Hall of Fame Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Gene Upshaw.

1970:  Offensive tackle William (Willie) Roaf (LSU: 1989-92, Saints: 1993-2001, Chiefs: 2002-05) born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Career Stats: Roaf started in all 189 of his career NFL games. He was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection (1994-2000, 2002-05), a six-time First-team All-Pro (1994-96, 2003-05), and a three-time Second-team All-Pro (1997, 2000, 2002). He was a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Roaf was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

1973:  Linebacker Derrick Brooks (Florida State: 1992-94, Buccaneers: 1995-2008) born in Pensacola, Florida

Career Stats: 1,297 combined tackles (884 solo), 13.5 sacks, 25 interceptions, 60 passes defended, 24 forced fumbles, six defensive touchdowns. Brooks was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection (1997-2006, 2008), a nine-time All-Pro (1997-2005), the 2002 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and the 2000 Walter Payton Man of the Year. He was a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and a winner of Super Bowl XXXVII. Brooks was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

1995:  Quarterback Joe Montana announced his retirement after 16-year career with San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs

1998:  Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning selected first overall by Indianapolis Colts and Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf second overall by San Diego Chargers in NFL Draft. There was much debate going into the draft as whom the Colts should’ve picked first overall. Manning was considered NFL ready and more mature but Leaf was said to have a stronger arm and more upside. Manning would go on to win three Super Bowls and five NFL Most Valuable Player Awards while Leaf was out of the NFL by 2002 and is considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history.

2002:  Linebacker/offensive guard Edward (Wahoo) McDaniel (Oklahoma: 1957-59, Oilers: 1960, Broncos: 1961-63, Jets: 1964-65, Dolphins: 1966-68) died at age 63 in Houston, Texas (b. 1938)

Career Stats: 13 interceptions, one defensive touchdown. McDaniel was a member of the 1960 AFL Champion Oilers and the 1966 Miami Dolphins inaugural roster. He was a working-class hero who enjoyed his greatest AFL success with the Jets. McDaniel began his pro wrestling career while he was still playing football. His popularity in wrestling (and the face he made money in the ring than on the gridiron) led him to leave football, His wrestling career lasted until 1989.

2005:  Linebacker Samuel (Sam) Mills (Montclair State: 1978-80, USFL Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars: 1983-85, Saints: 1986-94, Panthers: 1995-97) died at age 45 in Charlotte, North Carolina (b. 1959)

Career Stats: 1,142 total tackles (1,019 solo), 20.5 sacks, 11 interceptions, 22 forced fumbles, three defensive touchdowns. The undrafted, undersized (5’9”, 232 lbs.) Mills was a five-time Pro Bowl selection (1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, and 1993) and a four-time All-Pro (1991, 1992, 1995, 1996). He was a three-time All-USFL player (1983-85), a two-time USFL Champion (1984, 1985), and named to the USFL All-Time Team. Mills became a Panthers coaching assistant at the end of his playing career. He was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in Aug. 2003 and told he had only a few months to live. Mills continued to coach despite his diagnosis, an inspiration to a Panthers team that made it to Super Bowl XXXVIII against the New England Patriots.

April 19

1931:  Halfback/fullback Alexander (Big Red) Webster (North Carolina State: 1950-52, CFL Montreal Alouettes: 1953-54, Giants: 1955-64) born in Kearny, New Jersey (d. 2012)

Career Stats: 1,196 carries for 4,638 yards and 39 touchdowns; 240 receptions for 2,679 yards and 17 touchdowns. Webster was named to two Pro Bowls (1958, 1961). He played in one Grey Cup (1954) and six NFL Championship Games (1956, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963), only on the winning side once (1956). Webster was also Giants head coach from 1969-73. Career record: 29-40-1

1981:  Safety Troy Polamalu (USC: 1999-2002, Steelers: 2003-14) born in Garden Grove, California

Career Stats: 770 combined tackles (576 solo), 12 sacks, 32 interceptions, 100 passes defended, 14 forced fumbles, and three defensive touchdowns. Polamalu was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection (2004-08, 2010, 2011, 2013), a four-time First-team All-Pro (2005, 2008, 2010, 2011), and a Second-team All-Pro in 2004. He was the 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team. Polamalu won two Super Bowls (XL, XLIII) with Steelers.

1997:  Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace selected first overall by St. Louis Rams in NFL Draft. The 1997 Draft is known for the number of high-profile offensive linemen. Besides Pace, four other offensive linemen were taken in the first round: Florida State’s Walter Jones (6th-Seahawks), Colorado’s Chris Naeole (10th-Saints), California’s Tarik Glenn (19th overall -Colts), and Iowa’s Ross Verba (30th-Packers). Pace and Jones were the best among them. Both players were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Pace in 2016, Jones in 2014). The 1997 Draft was also memorable for productive running backs. Florida State’s Warrick Dunn (12th overall-Buccaneers), Virginia’s Tiki Barber (36th overall- Giants), and Washington’s Corey Dillon (43rd overall-Bengals) each became members of the 10,000 Rushing Yards Club. Houston’s Antowain Smith (23rd overall- Bills) and South Carolina’s Duce Staley (71st overall-Eagles) also had productive seasons in the NFL.

April 20

1945:  Quarterback Stephen (Steve) Spurrier (Florida: 1963-66, 49ers: 1967-75, Buccaneers: 1976) born in Miami Beach, Florida

Career Stats: 597 completions in 1,151 attempts for 40 touchdowns and 60 interceptions (51.9 percent); 61 carries for 258 yards and two touchdowns. Spurrier was a two-time All-American (1965, 1966) at Florida and winner of the 1966 Heisman Trophy. He was a backup for most of his 49ers career before he was traded to the Buccaneers, where he was their starting quarterback for their inaugural 1976 season. Spurrier was head coach of the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits (1983-85) and the Redskins (2002-03). Career professional coaching record: 47-41 (Tampa Bay Bandits: 35-19, postseason: 0-2, Redskins: 12-20). He was also the head coach at Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001), and South Carolina (2015-15). Career collegiate coaching record: 228-89-2 (Duke: 20-13-1 {11-9-1 conference}, Florida: 122-27-1 {87-12 conference}, South Carolina: 86-49 {44-40 conference}). Spurrier’s Gators won the 1996 National Championship and six Southeastern Conference Championships (1991, 1993-96, 2000). His 1989 Blue Devils team won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. Spurrier was twice named ACC Coach of the Year (1988, 1989) and a seven-time SEC Coach of the Year (1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2005, 2010). 130 of Spurrier’s players were drafted by NFL teams.

1964:  Placekicker John Carney (Notre Dame: 1984-86, Buccaneers: 1988-89, Rams: 1990, Chargers: 1990-2000, Saints: 2001-06, Jaguars: 2007, Chiefs, 2007, Giants: 2008, Saints: 2009-10) born in Hartford, Connecticut

Career Stats: 478 field goals made in 580 attempts (82.4 percent); 628 extra points made in 638 attempts (98.4 percent). Carney was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (1994, 2008), a First-team All-Pro in 1994 and a Second-team All-Pro in 2008. He is the Chargers’ all-time leading scorer and won Super Bowl XLIV with Saints

1984:  Tight end Anthony Fasano (Notre Dame: 2002-05, Cowboys: 2006-07, Dolphins: 2008-12, Chiefs: 2013-14, Titans: 2015-16, Dolphins: 2017-present) born in Verona, New Jersey

Career Stats: 287 receptions for 3,171 yards and 35 touchdowns.

1991:  Linebacker Luke Kuechly (Boston College: 2009-11, Panthers: 2012-present) born in Cincinnati, Ohio

Career Stats: 693 combined tackles (442 solo), nine sacks, 12 interceptions, 43 passes defended, four forced fumbles, and one defensive touchdown. Kuechly was the 2012 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He is a four-time Pro Bowl (2013-16), a three-time First-team All-Pro (2013-15), and a Second-team All-Pro in 2016

1996:  USC wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson selected first overall by New York Jets in NFL Draft. The 1996 draft was considered one of the best for wide receivers. Ohio State’s Terry Glenn (7th overall-Patriots), Syracuse’s Marvin Harrison (19th overall-Colts), Mississippi State’s Eric Moulds (24th overall-Bills), Michigan’s Amani Toomer (34th overall-Giants), Michigan State’s Muhsin Muhammad (43rd overall-Panthers), Chattanooga’s Terrell Owens (89th overall-49ers), Itawamba CC’s Joe Horn (135th overall-Chiefs), and Maryland’s Jermaine Lewis (153rd overall-Ravens) were also selected. Harrison was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Each of the receivers named made at least one Pro Bowl appearance except Toomer. The 1996 wide receiver class has more than 7,000 receptions for 105,000 yards, easily the most productive wide receiver class in NFL history. The 1996 draft was also memorable because of the middle linebacker position. Among those drafted were Miami (FL)’s Ray Lewis (26th overall-Ravens), Georgia’s Randall Godfrey (49th overall-Cowboys), Arizona’s Tedy Bruschi (86th overall-Patriots), UCLA’s Donnie Edwards (98th overall-Chiefs), and Texas Tech’s Zach Thomas (154th overall-Dolphins). This was the last NFL draft to date that a quarterback wasn’t drafted in the first round.

1996:  St. Louis Rams running back Jerome Bettis and a third-round draft pick was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 1996 second round pick and a 1997 fourth round pick. The Rams drafted Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips with the sixth overall pick and considered Bettis expendable. Bettis would continue his Hall of Fame career with the Steelers while Phillips only played 25 games for the Rams due to inconsistent performance and off-the-field issues.

2002:  Fresno State quarterback David Carr was the first overall pick of expansion Houston Texans in NFL Draft. The University of Miami, 2001 BCS National Champion, led all schools with eleven players selected, including five in the first round: offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie (7th overall-Giants), tight end Jeremy Shockey (14th overall-Giants), cornerback Phillip Buchanon (17th overall-Raiders), safety Ed Reed (24th overall-Ravens), cornerback Mike Rumph (27th overall-Dolphins), running back Clinton Portis (51st overall-Broncos), offensive guard Martin Bibla (116th overall-Falcons), running back Najeh Davenport (135th overall-Packers), safety James Lewis (183rd overall-Colts), wide receiver Daryl Jones (226th overall-Giants), and offensive tackle Joaquin Gonzalez (227th overall-Browns)

2015:  Offensive tackle Robert (The Geek) St. Clair (San Francisco: 1950-51, Tulsa: 1952, 49ers: 1953-1963) died at age 84 in Santa Rosa, California (b. 1931)

Career Highlights: St. Clair was a five-time Pro Bowler (1956, 1958-1961), a five-time First-time All-Pro (1955, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1961), a four-time Second-team All-Pro (1953, 1954, 1962, 1963), and a member of the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990

April 21

1898:  Tackle/guard Stephen (Steve) Owen (Phillips: 1917-18, Kansas City/Hartford Blues: 1924-25, Cleveland Bulldogs: 1925, Kansas City Cowboys: 1925, Giants: 1926-31, Giants: 1933) born in Cleo Springs, Oklahoma (d. 1964)

Career Highlights: Owen was a First-team All-Pro in 1927, helped Giants win 1927 NFL Championship and a member of the NFL 1920s All-Decade Team. He was Giants head coach from 1930-53 (Career record: 151-100-17. Postseason: 10-2), winning two NFL Championships as coach (1934, 1938. Owen was a pioneer of the a-formation offense and umbrella defense. He was also head coach of the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts (1959), Calgary Stampeders (1960), and Saskatchewan Roughriders (1961-62). Owen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966. His 151 victories are the most in Giants franchise history.

1906:  Halfback/placekicker Elmer Kenneth (Ken) Strong Jr. (NYU: 1926-28, Staten Island Stapletons: 1929-32, Giants: 1933-35, New York Yankees: 1936-37, New Giants: 1937, Giants: 1944-47) born in West Haven, Connecticut (d. 1979)

Career Stats: 379 carries for 1,228 yards and 24 touchdowns; 22 receptions for 254 yards and seven touchdowns; 20 completions in 52 attempts for 380 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions; 35 field goals made in 50 attempts, 129 extra points made in 144 attempts; nine punts for 455 yards. Strong was a five-time First-team All-Pro (1929-31, 1933, 1934) and helped Giants win 1934 NFL Championship. He was a member of the NFL 1930s All-Decade Team. Despite his career interruption by service in World War II, Strong was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967

1980:  Quarterback Antonio (Tony) Romo (Eastern Illinois: 1998-2002, Cowboys: 2003-16) born in San Diego, California.

Career Stats: 2,829 completions in 4,335 attempts for 34,183 yards, 248 touchdowns, and 117 interceptions. QB rating: 97.1; 238 carries for 638 yards and five touchdowns. Romo was a four-time Pro Bowl selection (2006, 2007, 2009, 2014), a Second-team All-Pro (2014), and led the NFL in quarterback rating (113.2 in 2014). He is the Cowboys’ all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, most games with at least 300 passing yards, and games with three or more passing touchdowns

1991:  Miami (FL) defensive tackle Russell Maryland selected first overall by Dallas Cowboys in NFL Draft followed by UCLA safety Eric Turner (Browns), Nebraska cornerback Bruce Pickens (Falcons), Nebraska linebacker Mike Croel (Broncos), Notre Dame cornerback Todd Lyght (Rams), and defensive tackle Eric Swann (Cardinals). It was the first time in NFL history that the first six picks of a draft were all defensive players. No previous draft had more than three.

1996:  Sports commentator and Las Vegas bookmaker James (Jimmy the Greek) Snyder died at age 77 in Las Vegas, Nevada (b. 1918). Snyder was best known for his 12-year stint on CBS’ The NFL Today (1976-88). He would appear in segments and predict the outcome of each week’s games. Because sports betting is illegal in most parts of the United States, Jimmy the Greek would be very careful not to overtly mention gambling or betting. He was already famous within gambling circles and The NFL Today gained him more notoriety. After getting into well-publicized conflicts with both Brent Musberger and Phyllis George, Jimmy the Greek was fired from the show after saying African Americans were naturally superior athletes because they were bred to produce stronger offspring during slavery.

2001:  Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick selected first overall by Atlanta Falcons in NFL Draft. The University of Miami had four first round selections: linebacker Dan Morgan (11th-Panthers), defensive tackle Damione Lewis (12th-Rams), and wide receivers Santana Moss (16th-Jets) and Reggie Wayne (30th-Colts) and seven players overall. Florida State led all schools with nine players selected, including Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Chris Weinke. Seventeen of the 2001 Draft’s first-round picks made at least one Pro Bowl.

April 22

1961:  Quarterback William Jeffrey (Jeff) Hostetler (West Virginia: 1981-83, Giants: 1984-92, Raiders: 1993-96, Redskins: 1997-98) born in York, Pennsylvania

Career Stats: 1,357 completion in 2,338 attempts for 16,460 yards, 94 touchdowns, and 71 interceptions. QB rating: 80.5; 316 carries for 1,391 yards and 17 touchdowns. Hostetler was a Pro Bowl selection in 1994 and won two Super Bowls (XXI, XXV) with Giants.

1986:  Running back Marshawn (Beast Mode) Lynch (California: 2004-06, Bills: 2007-10, Seahawks: 2011-15) born in Oakland, California

Career Stats: 2,144 carries for 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns; 252 receptions for 1,979 yards and nine touchdowns. Lynch was a five-time Pro Bowl selection (2008, 2011-14), a 2012 First-team All-Pro, and a 2014 Second-team All-Pro. He led the NFL in rushing touchdowns twice (2013, 2014) and won Super Bowl XLVIII with Seahawks

1990:  Illinois quarterback Jeff George selected first overall by Indianapolis Colts in NFL Draft. The Dallas Cowboys would’ve had the number one overall pick for the second year in a row by virtue of having a league worst 1-15 record but they forfeited their first-round pick when they drafted quarterback Steve Walsh in the previous year’s Supplemental Draft. The number one pick went to the Atlanta Falcons, who traded it to the Colts. The Cowboys used the 17th overall pick (acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers) to select Florida running back Emmitt Smith. Smith would become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, a three-time Super Bowl winner, and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Smith was the third future Hall of Famer selected in the first round. Miami (FL) defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy (HOF Class of 2012) was selected third overall by the Seattle Seahawks and USC linebacker Junior Seau (HOF Class of 2015) was selected fifth overall by the San Diego Chargers. Savannah State tight end Shannon Sharpe was selected in the seventh round (192nd overall) by the Denver Broncos. Sharpe won three Super Bowls, retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns by a tight end and inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2011)

1995:  Penn State running back Ki-Jana Carter selected first overall by Cincinnati Bengals in NFL Draft. This draft featured 32 picks in the first two rounds as the expansion Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars had two extra picks. The Panthers traded the first overall pick to the Bengals in exchange for the Bengals’ fifth overall pick and their second round pick. The Panthers used those picks to select Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins and Louisiana-Monroe defensive end Shawn King. The Panthers were stripped of two supplemental picks (Nos. 61 and 191) for improperly recruiting inaugural head coach Dom Capers. Miami (FL) defensive tackle Warren Sapp (12th overall) and Florida State linebacker Derrick Brooks (28th overall) were drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was the second time two Hall of Fame players (Sapp inducted in 2013, Brooks inducted in 2014) were drafted by the same team in the same draft. In 1965, the Chicago Bears drafted Illinois linebacker Dick Butkus (HOF Class of 1979) and Kansas halfback Gale Sayers (HOF Class of 1977) third and fourth overall respectively

2004:  Safety Patrick Daniel (Pat) Tillman (Arizona State: 1994-97, Cardinals: 1998-2001) killed in friendly fire incident outside Sperah, Afghanistan at age 27 (b. 1976)

Career Stats: 247 combined tackles (154 solo), 2.5 sacks, three interceptions, and three forced fumbles. After the September 11 attacks, Tillman turned down a three-year, $3.6 million contract to enlist in the U.S. Army. He was a member of the 2nd Ranger Battalion and 75th Ranger Regiment. He was initially reported to have been killed by enemy fire in an ambush outside of Sperah, near the border with Pakistan. After Tillman’s burial, Congress and the Department of Defense launched an investigation surrounding the incident. He was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart, and Meritorious Purple Medal.

2010:  Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford selected first overall by St. Louis Rams. This was the final draft before a rookie wage scale was implemented beginning with the 2011 Draft. The 2010 Draft also featured changes in assigning draft picks: teams that make the playoffs pick after teams that don’t and teams that advance further in the playoffs pick later. The previous method of assigning picks placed a premium on regular season record except for the teams that made the Super Bowl. The current draft order is picks 1-20 are for the teams that didn’t make the playoffs, picks 21-24 are for the teams eliminated in the Wild Card round, picks 25-28 are for the teams eliminated in the Divisional Round, picks 29 and 30 are for the teams eliminated in the Conference Championships, pick 31 is for the Super Bowl loser, and pick 32 is for the Super Bowl winner.

– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for cover32 and covers the NFL and New York Giants, like and follow on Facebook and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @TheArmchrAnlyst.

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