Ray Mansfield

Last updated
Ray Mansfield
No. 77, 73, 56
Position: Center
Personal information
Born:(1941-01-21)January 21, 1941
Bakersfield, California
Died:November 3, 1996(1996-11-03) (aged 55)
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
High school: Kennewick (WA)
College: Washington
NFL Draft: 1963  / Round: 2 / Pick: 18
AFL draft: 1963  / Round: 5 / Pick: 37
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:196
Games started:111

Burt James Ray Mansfield (January 21, 1941 November 3, 1996), nicknamed "Ranger," was an American football player, a center in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. [1] [2] [3]

Contents

Early years

Born in Bakersfield, California, Mansfield grew up in Kennewick, Washington, and graduated from Kennewick High School in 1959. He played college football at the University of Washington in Seattle under head coach Jim Owens. During his sophomore season in 1960, the Huskies won the Rose Bowl 17–7 over top-ranked Minnesota. After his senior season in 1962, he participated in the East-West Shrine Game. [4] Mansfield is a member of the UW Athletic Hall of Fame. [3] [4]

Playing career

Mansfield was the 18th overall selection in the 1963 NFL draft, taken by the Eagles in the second round, and played for them for one season. He was also selected in the AFL draft, in the fifth round by the Denver Broncos. [3]

Mansfield moved to the Steelers in 1964 and played left defensive tackle for two years. He switched to offense and was their starting center for a decade, from 1966 until 1976, [5] and was a key member of the Steelers' Super Bowl-winning teams of the 1974 and 1975 seasons. In his last season as a Steeler, he kicked the extra point on the Steelers' final touchdown in a playoff game at Baltimore, [6] [7] after Roy Gerela pulled a groin muscle. Mansfield was also a placekicker in college and for three college all-star teams. [8] [9]

Mansfield played in 182 consecutive games, [3] [10] and was succeeded at center by Mike Webster.

"Ray was a special person," former Steeler coach Chuck Noll said. "He was one of the guys who was a Steeler when I arrived in 1969, and he was great in the locker room. He was a guy that everybody rallied around. He always had a certain amount of levity, but he was a tremendous football player." [3]

After football

He retired from pro football in July 1977, [11] and went on to a successful career as an insurance broker in the Pittsburgh area, previously his off-season job. [3]

Death

Known by his Steeler teammates as "Ranger" for his love of the outdoors, Mansfield died at age 55 from a heart attack while hiking with his son in the Grand Canyon in Arizona in November 1996. [1] [3] [10] [12] [13] He was buried at Desert Lawn Memorial Park in his hometown of Kennewick.

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References

  1. 1 2 Silver, Jonathon D. (November 5, 1996). "Ray Mansfield dies in Grand Canyon hike". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. A1.
  2. Cook, Ron (November 6, 1996). "Former Steeler loved people and life". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. B6.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Rockne, Dick (November 5, 1996). "Husky great Mansfield dies in Grand Canyon -- former UW, Pittsburgh Steeler lineman, 55, collapses during hiking trip". Seattle Times. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  4. 1 2 STATE OF WASHINGTON SPORTS HALL OF FAME
  5. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/M/MansRa20.htm
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers 40 at Baltimore Colts 14
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers 7 at Oakland Raiders 24
  8. Bechtel, Sam (December 20, 1976). "Gerela not kicking about leg pain". Beaver County Times. Pennsylvania. p. C2.
  9. "Walden alive and kicking". Beaver County Times. Pennsylvania. October 21, 1974. p. B4.
  10. 1 2 "Steelers mourn the death of former center Ray Mansfield". Kingman Daily Miner. Arizona. Associated Press. November 5, 1996. p. 3.
  11. "Ray Mansfield quits football". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. July 8, 1977. p. 23.
  12. "Ray Mansfield dies on hiking trip". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. wire services. November 5, 1996. p. D3.
  13. Grand Canyon claims the life of Ray Mansfield