Les Richter was one of the toughest linebackers ever to play in the NFL. His tenacity and productivity are honored with his enshrinement this year in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Incredibly, his career almost ended before it even began.
Here are 10 things you may not know about Les Richter:
» Richter was drafted on Jan. 17, 1952 by the New York Yankees. Two days later, the franchise was sold back to league for $100,000.
» The NFL transferred the teamâs assets to Dallas businessman Giles Miller, who first renamed them the Rangers and then the Texans. Richter, who was a West Coast guy, said heâd retire.
» Richter was friends with one of minority owners of the Los Angeles Rams, and that friendship was instrumental in leading to a blockbuster trade that sent Richter to L.A.
» The Rams traded 11 players in the deal that landed them Richter. Of those 11 players, only one played more than four years, and half of them didnât make the team at all. Itâs probably one of most lopsided trades of all time.
» Richter went to the Korean War after the trade. He returned in 1954 after two years away. Despite the layoff, he hit the ground running and began a string of eight straight Pro Bowls.
» That Pro Bowl run ended in 1962, but Richterâs value was still immense: The Rams lost their starting center after second gamer of season, so Richter filled in and started on both sides of the ball.
» There werenât many defensive players that doubled as the teamâs kicker, but Richter was one of the best. He made 29 career field goals and converted 90 percent of his extra-point attempts.
» Dallas coach Tom Landry felt we couldnât get our running game going unless we blocked Richter, and he was right. The first time we played Richterâs Rams, they just obliterated us.
» One of the toughest players in the NFL, Richter once broke his cheekbone in a game at Pittsburgh and continued to play.
» When Richter retired, he became the general manager of Riverside Raceway in California.