Pete Retzlaff

Last updated

Pete Retzlaff
Pete Retzlaff.jpg
Retzlaff with the Eagles
No. 25, 44
Position: Flanker
Tight end
Personal information
Born:(1931-08-21)August 21, 1931
Ellendale, North Dakota, U.S.
Died:April 10, 2020(2020-04-10) (aged 88)
Pottstown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Career information
High school: Ellendale
(Ellendale, North Dakota)
College: South Dakota State
NFL draft: 1953  / Round: 22 / Pick: 265
Career history
As a player:
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
As an executive:
  • Philadelphia Eagles (19691972)
    General manager
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:452
Receiving yards:7,412
Receiving touchdowns:47
Player stats at PFR
Executive profile at PFR

Palmer Edward "Pete" Retzlaff (August 21, 1931 – April 10, 2020), nicknamed "Pistol Pete" and "the Baron", was an American football player and executive for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL). He played as a flanker and tight end for 11 seasons. After his playing career, he served as the general manager for four seasons.

Contents

Early life

Retzlaff played football at Ellendale High School in Ellendale, North Dakota, and starred in track and field and football at South Dakota State College. In 1952, he rushed for 1,016 yards, a school record. He was later inducted into the school's athletic Hall of Fame. [1]

Football career

Retzlaff was selected in the 1953 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL), but he did not make the team. After two years in the U.S. Army he was sold to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he played flanker and tight end for 11 seasons, having converted from fullback. In 1958, Norm Van Brocklin, acquired from the Los Angeles Rams, suggested Retzlaff to play split end, noting that he ran patterns like his favorite receiver at Los Angeles in Elroy Hirsch. [2] That year, despite having never caught a pass in college, he led the NFL with 56 pass receptions. He went to the Pro Bowl five times, and he won the Bert Bell Award for NFL player of the year in 1965, when he caught 66 passes including ten touchdowns. He played the entire season with an injury to his heels, saying he ended up with "21 holes" while using Novocain on gameday and not practicing prior to the game.

He was president of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). He averaged 16.4 yards per catch and lost only four fumbles in his career. He was the seventh receiver with 450 catches in history. [3] [4]

In 2005, he was named to the Professional Football Researchers Association Hall of Very Good in the association's third HOVG class. [5]

Post-football career

From 1969 to 1972, he was the Eagles' vice president and general manager. He drafted Harold Carmichael in 1971, who later passed him for catches and yards by an Eagle player. In 1973 and 1974, he worked as a color analyst for NFL coverage on CBS television.

Retzlaff's number 44 jersey has been retired by the Eagles. When he retired, he was the alltime leader for receptions and receiving yards for Philadelphia (on his death in 2020, he was still third in receptions and second in yards, having been passed in both by Harold Carmichael). [6]

Personal life

Retzlaff married his wife Patty in 1954, having four children.

Retzlaff died on April 10, 2020, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, at the age of 88. [7]

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References

  1. Canton cuts Pete Retzlaff
  2. "Didinger: An Eagles legend, Pete Retzlaff deserves to be in Canton".
  3. Hall of Fame Pete Retzlaff passed away Sports Illustrated
  4. "NFL Career Receptions Leaders Through 1966". Pro-Football-Reference.com .
  5. "Hall of Very Good" . Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  6. "Eagles mourn death of Pete Retzlaff, Hall of Fame tight end and leader of 1960 NFL championship team".
  7. McPherson, Chris (April 10, 2020). "Eagles mourn the passing of Hall of Famer Pete Retzlaff". Philadelphia Eagles. Retrieved April 10, 2020.