Three-time Pro Bowl guard Doug "Moosie" Wilkerson has passed away at the age of 73, the Los Angeles Chargers announced Monday.
Wilkerson, who spent 14 of his 15 NFL seasons with the then-San Diego based franchise, was a fixture along the Bolts' offensive line from 1971-1984, playing in 204 games (195 starts). He was named first team All-Pro in 1982, and second team All-Pro in 1979 and 1980.
"Moosie was one-of-a-kind. A member of our Chargers Hall of Fame, 40th and 50th anniversary teams, the Black College Football Hall of Fame and a three-time All Pro, to say he was vital to the success of our Air Coryell era teams would be an understatement," team owner Dean Spanos said in a statement. "Yet for everything he accomplished on the field, his regular visits to our facility during his retirement years are probably what everyone in our Charger family will remember most. A giant smile, ear-to-ear, as he walked down the halls, bouncing from one department to the next. A word of advice. A captive audience for those who needed one. Just seeing him made you feel good. The world needs more Moosies in it. What a bright light he was. Our hearts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with the Wilkerson family and everyone who loved Moosie."
Selected by the Houston Oilers with the 14th overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft, Wilkerson played nine games his rookie season. The North Carolina Central product was traded following the 1970 campaign to the Chargers in exchange for veteran tight end Willie Frazier.
The club struggled during Wilkerson's first seven seasons in town before finally turning its fortunes around with the arrival of legendary college coach Don Coryell in the middle of the 1978 season. Led by Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow, San Diego enjoyed winning records in four of the next six seasons, including three consecutive first-place finishes in the AFC West and back-to-back AFC Championship appearances.
For his contributions, Wilkerson was named to the Chargers' Hall of Fame and 40th Anniversary Team in 2000 and 50th Anniversary Team in 2009. He was also inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.