larry wilson broken hands
Stories over the years said he played with broken wrists and broken arms. He matched an NFL record by intercepting passes in seven consecutive games including a spectacular one-handed grab that he returned 91 yards for a touchdown against the Eagles at Franklin Field. “There’s nothing humorous about playing football,” Wilson told The Daily Herald of Provo, Utah, in 1972. He was one of six safeties elected to the N.F.L.’s all-time team. “That’s probably the best thing that happened to me in pro football,” Wilson said of losing his teeth. “His competitiveness was his strength, and he had a feel for the game.”, In a statement released by the Cardinals, Nancy Wilson said: “Larry Wilson was the kindest, most humble person that I will ever know. Although only six feet tall and only 190 pounds, he was nevertheless considered one of the league’s toughest players. Larry Wilson in 1966. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978 on the first ballot. ( Log Out /  For Larry, it was always about everyone else and what he could do for them. Wilson said his wife Nancy would roll her eyes and wonder if the next version would have Wilson playing in a body cast. However, he couldn’t do it alone and the Browns came back for a 27-24 victory. They need more speed and more quickness out there. Let’s not blow smoke, Larry Wilson’s not cutting it anymore.”. Rookies were often taken aback when they saw Wilson without his false teeth. Steelers head coach Buddy Parker put together film clips of Wilson and told his players “That’s the way to play defense – the way this man does it.”, Wilson was not a big man by pro football standards. They moved me to safety, and then things started rolling in the right direction.”. He still has more interceptions than anyone who has ever played for the Cardinals after retiring almost 50 years ago. And especially in the times we live, that’s something that that we could use more of today.”. “It’s not right for the Cardinals to have me out there anymore. He’s going to be hard to replace.”. He made the rounds in the community speaking at high schools and at local charitable events. The Big Red moved into new Busch Stadium in 1966 and it was Larry Wilson’s finest season as a pro. Wilson later became the first official General Manager of the Cardinals shortly after the team moved to Arizona in 1988. Larry Wilson continued to play at a high level the next several years. Wilson sacked quarterback Charlie Conerly twice, forcing a fumble, and disrupting a number of pass plays in the Cards 21-10 upset victory. Threat, Dies at 82. He knew his time as a player was coming to an end. The Pro Bowl game became an annual event and St. Louisans spoke of Wilson in the same regard as Stan Musial. The Cardinals offered no bonus, but a $9500 salary that was contingent on him making the team. In his first action of preseason, Wilson was lined up against Colts receiver Raymond Berry. But the seasons started getting longer and Wilson was growing older. He stood 6’0″ and weighed no more than 190 pounds. I owe him so much it’s ridiculous.”. I believe and hope they were returned to him with the display was dismantled. ( Log Out /  Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. No player wore Wilson’s jersey number, 8, after he retired from play in 1972, and he was added to the team’s Ring of Honor in 2006. “This city has been wonderful to me and I owe it a lot,” Wilson once told the Post Dispatch.” Visiting some of these kids is the least I can do.”. “Most of us talked about it,” said rookie linebacker Mark Arneson. “Was I up for this one?” the smiling Wilson told the Post Dispatch after the game. Wilson suffered a cracked rib early in the contest when he dragged down a young Eagles receiver Harold Carmichael from behind. Wilson created plenty of mayhem in the defensive backfield as well. The true story? And he was on the NFL’s 75th and 100th anniversary teams. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. Humble, considerate, compassionate off the field. Wilson became a safety only after he failed at cornerback in his first preseason game. The Cardinals never made the playoffs while Wilson was with the club. After he retired from playing, Wilson worked in the Cardinals’ front office as director of pro scouting for four years and as director of pro personnel for two. As durable as any player in the league, Wilson started nearly every one of the 169 games in which he played over 13 seasons. “It might have been the lowest moment of my life,” he would later tell the Post Dispatch. Any of us lucky enough to be in his orbit — whether that was for a few minutes or four decades — was always better off from the experience. Bill Bidwill hosted a retirement party for Wilson in St. Louis in 2003. He sacked Conerly three more times a few weeks later in St. Louis. His 52 interceptions and 800 career interception-return yards are team records. At the Pro Bowl early in his career, Wilson went to shake hands with Y.A. “The Cardinals really never contacted me until Bill came out.”. Drulis called it the “Wildcat” and it would change NFL defenses forever. He was an assistant Director of Operations and Pro-Personnel Director in St. Louis. Change ). On offense, he was both a receiving and running threat out of the backfield. Wilson finished the ’66 season with 10 interceptions and was named to his first of five successive All-Pro teams. When Giants quarterback Y.A. But he was not drafted by the Cardinals until the seventh round because he was considered too small for his position. Wilson was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the 7th round after the 1959 season. Money was raised, but Wilson said he’d prefer that it be spent on the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Thinking that he would be released after the 49er game, Larry made arrangements for his wife, Dee Ann, to meet him and they’d drive back to Rigby where he planned to teach. Many fans still ask, “Did Larry Wilson really intercept a pass with two broken hands?” The answer is yes. This game helped convince the NFL that Monday night football was a television necessity. The Big Red unleashed “Wildcat” in the 1961 season opener against the Giants at Yankee Stadum. Wilson's memorabilia has not gone unnoticed either. Our prayers, thoughts condolences are with the loved ones of the … He led the Skyline Conference in scoring in 1959 and earned an invitation to the East-West Shrine game. Larry Wilson, who is credited with innovating the safety blitz and once intercepted a pass with two broken hands, died Thursday at the age of 82. Quiet and mild-mannered off the football field, Wilson became one of the best safeties ever to play in the NFL. Money was raised to erect a bronze statue of Wilson outside of Busch Stadium next to Stan the Man’s. He notched 52 interceptions, returning five for touchdowns. He hit offensive players with ferocity and fearlessness, and in the process helped revolutionize the game. He is truly one of a kind! He returned the interception for a touchdown, helping the Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-17. He would join his jersey in 1978 when he became the first St. Louis Cardinal to be inducted. Larry Frank Wilson played the game with sheer determination, guts, and maximum effort. “Besides my father, Larry Wilson was the most influential male figure in my life,” Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said in a statement. A week later, with both hands in casts and wrapped in bandages, Larry was back in action against the Steelers. In his first preseason action, Wilson gave up several big plays to Colts future Hall of Famer Raymond Berry and soon found himself on the bench. Larry Wilson on NFL Today | THE BIG RED ZONE, Big Red Tough Guy: Dan Dierdorf | THE BIG RED ZONE. “Did you see the way the offense played?”. Wilson was prepared to sign with the Bills until Cardinals Vice President Bill Bidwill paid him a visit in Salt Lake City. Larry “Wildcat” Wilson is known as Mr. Cardinal. “They put casts on up to my elbows and put this little wire … To me, he was the most generous and gentle soul you would ever meet. When Wilson’s playing career ended after the 1972 season, he took a job in the team’s front office and worked in a variety of roles until retiring in 2003. Trailing 17-0 in the second quarter, Wilson intercepted a Frank Ryan pass and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown. “It save me thousands of dollars. He (Hill) took me under his wing. Wilson spent his entire career, both as a player and administrator, with the Cardinals. Tittle, the Hall of Fame quarterback who was on the receiving end of more than a few of Wilson’s safety blitzes. Larry spent most of his post-playing career as an executive with the Cardinals. I didn’t have to go to the dentist. However, the Buffalo Bills also selected Wilson in the first round of the upstart AFL draft. Pretty good, eh, considering he was a defensive player. The Cardinals won 24-23 to finish 4-9-1 for the second consecutive year. Subscribe to today. 8, in action against the Cleveland Browns in an undated photo. In Wilson, Drulis found a player quick and agile enough to pull off the play. Larry had broken both of his hands on two separate plays against the New York Giants. “Larry Wilson personifies what made the NFL great,” Bidwill said then. “They put casts on up to my elbows and put this little wire thing over it,” he said in 2015. The safety blitz involved a defensive back bursting through the line just as the ball was snapped in a frantic attempt to sack the quarterback. He broke the state high jump record and was a very good baseball and basketball player. The next day, the Buffalo Bills, the AFL team that had drafted Wilson, matched that salary offer, but declined to pay anything up front. One of those interceptions was caught while the Wildcat was on the field with two broken hands, still playing free safety with casts over his hands. It might have been the best money Bidwill ever spent. "While he will be recognized for his toughness and excellence on the field and his many contributions to the Cardinals organization, we will also remember Larry as loyal, humble and kind to everyone he met. He almost didn’t. He then held various other titles before retiring from the team in 2003. His first interception came at Yankee Stadium in the Cards 24-17 victory over the New York Giants. Only 6-feet and 190 pounds, Wilson was fearless and tough. Wilson had typical ups and downs his rookie season. Tittle looked Larry over at the Pro Bowl he said, “Good God, if I’d known you were that small, I wouldn’t have been so scared of you.”. He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals, played for the St. Louis Cardinals, and was General Manager of the Arizona Cardinals. St. Louis Football Cardinals 885 subscribers Utah head coach Ray Nagel called Larry one of Utah’s all-time greats. Offenses had no trouble blocking Cardinals linebackers when they blitzed, so an assistant coach named Chuck Drulis decided to start blitzing Wilson, a free safety. “Nobody could hang in the air as he did for that third interception.”, “He plays every game to the hilt,” head coach Charley Winner said. Larry ended up missing four games after having surgery on his finger, but came back for the season finale against the Cleveland Browns and had one of his greatest games of his career. “That was, and is, Larry Wilson,” Bill Bidwill once said. Wilson, No. “I just knew Larry Wilson was going to get an interception,” Bill Nelson said. Wilson was born and raised in Rigby, Idaho where he faced adversity as a youngster. He started 11 of 12 games at free safety, picked off two passes and returned some punts and kickoffs.


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