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1970’s Rookies

Football players whose careers began in the 1970s

Jack Youngblood (HOF) – Jack expected to be a middle-round pick coming out of Florida, but the Rams made the wise decision to draft him in the first round. Tutored by teammates Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones, Jack became one of the premier defensive lineman of his era. He famously played through the 1979 playoffs and Super Bowl with a broken leg.

Conrad Dobler – The “Dirtiest Player” label given to him by Sports Illustrated doesn’t fairly describe Conrad’s career, which featured three Pro Bowl selections (voted on by his peers). Many offensive lines he played on led the league in fewest sacks allowed, a stat Conrad points out is one of the few ways to statistically measure an offensive line’s effectiveness.

Joe DeLamielleure (HOF) – Joe grew up in Detroit watching the great Lions teams of the 50s and the Michigan State teams of the 60s. He chose to play college at Michigan State as a result, and blocked for Eric Allen on his then record 350-yard rushing game. He later cleared way for O.J. Simpson on Simpson’s famous 2,003 yard campaign. Rushing records felt natural to Joe.

Billy “White Shoes” Johnson – One of the most exciting players of the 1970s, Billy made both white shoes and touchdown dances fashionable. He returned four kicks back for touchdowns in 1975, and three in 1977. His return skills marked his place on both the NFLs 70s and 80s All-Decade teams.

Doug English – Texas offered Doug a scholarship after he started just one year at the high school level. After the Longhorns, he had an exceptional career with the Detroit Lions cut short by a spinal injury. His four safeties tie him for most all-time with Ted Hendricks and Derrick Thomas.

Louie Kelcher – Beaumont Texas’ Louie Kelcher became one of the great characters of the heated Charger/Raider rivalry of the late 70s and early 80s. He caused a fumble that helped turn the tide during the fourth quarter of the 1981 AFC Divisional playoff known as both “The Epic in Miami” and “The Kellen Winslow Game”.

Chris Bahr – Chris played pro soccer while still kicking field goals at Penn State. Proud of his position of safety on kickoff coverage, Chris never had a touchdown ran back on him in the regular season. He won two Super Bowls as a Raider, one with the crushing 1983 Raider juggernaut.

* HOF denotes Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee