Every true Washington Redskins fan needs to know our history as well as our legends. Our Washington Redskins are one of the original and oldest NFL teams since 1932. They have played more than 1,000 games. The Redskins Ring of Fame has 47 members who achieved greatness. This historical series by this Redskins historian is dedicated to those 47 members of the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame.
Gene Herman Brito was a tough guy whose father was a boxer. He played 9 seasons for the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins from 1951 to 1960. This defensive end was originally an end (split end back then) but was converted to a defensive end. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 5 times. He earned Player of the Year honors by the Washington Redskins Touchdown Club in 1955.
In 2002, Brito was selected as one of the 70 Greatest Redskins during Washington’s 70th Anniversary. The only other defensive ends on the 70 Greatest Redskins were Dexter Manley, Ron McDole and Charles Mann.
Fans today should keep in mind that back before Free Agency, players were not paid the mega millions like today’s NFL players. They played while hurt, some played both sides of the ball (both offense and defense) and were not as protected by the rules and equipment as current players.
Gene Brito is also in the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and was US President John F. Kennedy’s favorite NFL player. Brito died an early death at age 35 due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 1965.
Brito served in World War II in the US Army. He was a paratrooper, rank of sergeant (hard stripes) in the Pacific. HAIL. HTTR!
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