Ray Nettles

Last updated

Ray Nettles
No. 51
Born:(1949-08-01)August 1, 1949
Jacksonville, Florida
Died:September 29, 2009(2009-09-29) (aged 60)
Jacksonville, Florida
Career information
CFL status International
Position(s) LB
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight220 lb (100 kg)
College Tennessee
NFL draft 1972 / Round: 6 / Pick: 155
Drafted by Miami Dolphins
Career history
As player
19721976 BC Lions
1977 Toronto Argonauts
1978 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
1979 Ottawa Rough Riders
1980 Calgary Stampeders
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star 1972, 1973, 1978 [1]
CFL East All-Star 1978
CFL West All-Star 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977
Awards1972 Rookie of the Year [2]
1973 Most Outstanding Lineman
Career stats

Ray Nettles (August 1, 1949 – September 29, 2009) was a football linebacker at the University of Tennessee who played professional Canadian football from 1972-1980. He was a five-time Canadian Football League All-Star and Hall of Famer.

Linebacker defensive position in American football

A linebacker is a playing position in American football and Canadian football. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up approximately three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen, and therefore "back up the line". Linebackers generally align themselves before the ball is snapped by standing upright in a "two-point stance".

University of Tennessee Public university in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

The University of Tennessee is a public research university in Knoxville, Tennessee. Founded in 1794, two years before Tennessee became the 16th state, it is the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee system, with ten undergraduate colleges and eleven graduate colleges. It hosts almost 28,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. In its 2019 universities ranking, U.S. News & World Report ranked UT 115th among all national universities and 52nd among public institutions of higher learning. Seven alumni have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. James M. Buchanan, M.S. '41, received the 1986 Nobel Prize in Economics. UT's ties to nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory, established under UT President Andrew Holt and continued under the UT–Battelle partnership, allow for considerable research opportunities for faculty and students.

Canadian football Canadian sport in which opposing teams of twelve players attempt to score by advancing a ball by running, passing and kicking

Canadian football is a sport played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's scoring area.

Contents

Early years

Nettles was born in Jacksonville, Florida and graduated from Englewood High School in 1968. In his senior year, he was Duval County defensive player of the year and third team All-State. [3]

Jacksonville, Florida Largest city in Florida

Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, the most populous city in the southeastern United States and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits. As of 2017 Jacksonville's population was estimated to be 892,062. The Jacksonville metropolitan area has a population of 1,523,615 and is the fourth largest in Florida.

Duval County, Florida County in Florida, United States

Duval County is a county in the State of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 864,263, with a 2017 estimate at 937,934, the seventh most populous in Florida. Its county seat is Jacksonville, with which the Duval County government has been consolidated since 1968. Duval County was established in 1822, and is named for William Pope Duval, Governor of Florida Territory from 1822 to 1834.

Nettles accepted a scholarship to the University of Tennessee but spent his first two years as backup to two-time Pro Bowler Jack Reynolds. In the two seasons that Nettles started as linebacker, Tennessee's record was 21-3 and he was named to the All-SEC team in 1971.

Pro Bowl all-star game of the National Football League (NFL)

The Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League (NFL). From the merger with the rival American Football League (AFL) in 1970 up through 2013 and since 2017, it is officially called the AFC–NFC Pro Bowl, matching the top players in the American Football Conference (AFC) against those in the National Football Conference (NFC). From 2014 through 2016, the NFL experimented with an unconferenced format, where the teams were selected by two honorary team captains, instead of selecting players from each conference. The players were picked in a televised "schoolyard pick" prior to the game.

Southeastern Conference College athletics conference of universities in the southern United States

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is an American college athletic conference whose member institutions are located primarily in the Southern part of the United States. Its fourteen members include the flagship public universities of eleven states, two additional public land grant universities, and one private research university. The conference is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. The SEC participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I in sports competitions; for football, it is part of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A.

Professional career

The Miami Dolphins drafted him in 1972, but he chose the CFL because they offered twice as much money and the opportunity to play immediately. At Miami, he would have competed for a starting job against All-Pro linebacker Nick Buoniconti. Nettles was quoted in a 1999 Florida Times-Union article, "It's not like I was afraid to play in the NFL. I could have had success there, but I already waited my turn behind Jack Reynolds at Tennessee, and I didn't want to do that again. I wanted to prove myself right away." [3]

Miami Dolphins National Football League franchise in Miami, Florida

The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football team based in the Miami metropolitan area. The Dolphins compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The Dolphins play their home games at Hard Rock Stadium in the northern suburb of Miami Gardens, Florida, and are headquartered in Davie, Florida. The Dolphins are Florida's oldest professional sports team. Of the four AFC East teams, they are the only team in the division that was not a charter member of the American Football League (AFL).

All-Pro is an honor bestowed upon professional American football players that designates the best player at each position during a given season. All-Pro players are typically selected by press organizations, who select an "All-Pro team," a list that consists of at least 22 players, one for each offensive and defensive position, plus various special teams players depending on the press organization that compiles the list. All-Pro lists are exclusively limited to the major leagues, usually only the National Football League; in the past, other leagues recognized as major, such as the American Football League of the 1960s or the All-America Football Conference of the 1940s, have been included in All-Pro lists.

Nick Buoniconti American football player

Nicholas Anthony Buoniconti is a former American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) middle linebacker, who played for the Boston Patriots and Miami Dolphins. Buoniconti was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Nettles started his pro career for the BC Lions in 1972 and was named to the All-Star team his first year. In his second year, he won the 1973 CFL's Most Outstanding Lineman Award and was again named to the All-Star team. He remained with the Lions through the 1976 season, then played for the Toronto Argonauts in 1977, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1978, the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1979, and the Calgary Stampeders in 1980. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

BC Lions Canadian football team based in Vancouver

The BC Lions are a professional Canadian football team competing in the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Lions play their home games at BC Place.

The Most Outstanding Lineman Award was an award annually given to the best defensive player or offensive lineman in the Canadian Football League from the year 1955 to 1973. By the 1974 season, the league decided to make two separate awards for both defensive players and offensive linemen.

Toronto Argonauts professional football team based in Toronto, Canada

The Toronto Argonauts are a professional Canadian football team competing in the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Based in Toronto, Ontario, the team was founded in 1873, and is the oldest existing professional sports team in North America still using its original name, and they are the oldest-surviving team in both the modern-day CFL and East Division. The team's origins date back to a modified version of rugby football that emerged in North America in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The Argonauts played their home games at Rogers Centre from 1989 until 2016 when the team moved to BMO Field, the fifth stadium site to host the team.

Personal life

While playing football, Nettles was known as a tough guy with long hair who partied hard and drove fast motorcycles. [3] His profile on the Canadian Football Hall of Fame website states: "He became known as much for his colourful off field personality as for his on field feistiness." [4] Nettles struggled throughout much of his adult life with alcohol and cocaine additions, which contributed to three divorces and multiple attempts at rehabilitation. He was finally successful in November 2008 after a six-week stay at Willingway Hospital. [3] He explained his attitude in a July 2009 interview:

Willingway Hospital, located in Statesboro, Georgia, is a privately owned hospital which specializes in treating alcoholism and drug addiction. The treatment modality at Willingway Hospital is based on the principles of the twelve-step program, Alcoholics Anonymous. It is referred to by many as "The Betty Ford Center of the South."

In my mind, I wasn't suppose[ sic ] to live past 50, so I didn't take rehabilitation seriously the first few times I tried it. I was always standing on the edge, looking over a cliff, but stepping backwards. A few times, I slipped and saw a couple of the rocks fall and God spared me many times. I just never could figure out why until this past year. [3]

As part of his sobriety, Nettles became a Christian and regained self-respect and dignity, which allowed him to live his final months at peace. [3]

Death

Nettles died at a hospice in Jacksonville, Florida on September 29, 2009, after a long battle with liver and lung cancer. [5] [6] [7]

Related Research Articles

Ron Lancaster Canadian football player and coach

Ronald "Ron" Lancaster was an American-Canadian professional football player and coach in the Canadian Football League (CFL). As the starting quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 16 seasons, he led the team to its first Grey Cup championship in 1966 and is the franchise's all-time leader in passing yards, attempts, completions, touchdowns, and interceptions. At the time of his retirement, he was the CFL's career leader in passing yards and still ranks sixth overall as of 2016. After his retirement as a player, he served as a head coach and general manager in the CFL; he led his teams to two Grey Cups and currently ranks fourth all-time with 142 regular season wins. He was also a colour commentator on the CFL on CBC from 1981 to 1990. At the time of his death, he was the Senior Director of Football Operations of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (1982), Canada's Sports Hall of Fame (1985) and the Wittenberg University Athletic Hall of Honour (1985).

Mike OShea (Canadian football) Canadian football player

Michael O'Shea is the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He is a former Canadian football linebacker and former special teams coordinator of the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL from 2010 to 2013, winning the Grey Cup in 2012. O'Shea played 16 seasons in the CFL for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts from 1993 to 2008. He retired second all-time in career tackles with 1,154 and is one of only three players to record over 1,000 tackles. He won the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian Award in 1999 after recording 84 tackles, 13 special teams tackles and three interceptions that year. O'Shea is a three-time Grey Cup champion as a player, having won all three with the Argonauts in 1996, 1997, and 2004.

Kyle Brady Player of American football

Kyle James Brady is a former professional American football player. He played tight end for 13 seasons in the National Football League for the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots. He was the Jets' first round draft choice in the 1995 NFL Draft. He played college football at Penn State.

Alondra Johnson was a Canadian Football League linebacker who played sixteen seasons in the CFL, mainly for the Calgary Stampeders. Johnson was a three-time All Star and won Grey Cups with Calgary in 1992, 1998 and 2001. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Lui Passaglia Canadian football player

Lui Passaglia is a former professional Canadian football player. Passaglia was the placekicker/punter for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League for a record-breaking 25 years (1976–2000) and scored more points in that time than any professional gridiron football player in history. He is a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame, and the BC Lions Wall of Fame. Passaglia's #5 jersey is one of nine numbers retired by the Lions. In 2003, Passaglia was voted a member of the BC Lions All-Time Dream Team as part of the club’s 50 year anniversary celebration. In 2006, Passaglia was voted one of the CFL's Top 50 players (#30) of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.

Gene Makowsky is a Canadian politician and former Canadian football offensive lineman who has been a member of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly representing the riding of Regina Gardiner Park since 2016 and prior to that representing the riding of Regina Dewdney.

Byron Ledare"By" Bailey born to Rollin Edward and Cora Helen (Bruner). Bailey, was a professional American and Canadian football player, primarily as a fullback and defensive back with the Canadian Football League BC Lions. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Bailey is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, the B.C. Lions Wall of Fame, and the Washington State University Athletic Hall of Fame. Bailey's #38 jersey is one of eight numbers retired by the B.C. Lions. In 2006, Bailey was voted to the Honour Roll of the CFL's top 50 players of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.

Norm "Mouse" Fieldgate is a former professional Canadian football player. Fieldgate played defensive end and linebacker with the Canadian Football League BC Lions for his entire 14-year career. Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Fieldgate is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, and the BC Lions Wall of Fame. Fieldgate's #75 jersey is one of eight numbers retired by the BC Lions. In 2006, Fieldgate was voted to the Honour Roll of the CFL's top 50 players of the league's modern era by Canadian sports network TSN.

Willie Pless is a former Canadian football linebacker in the Canadian Football League. He played for the Toronto Argonauts, BC Lions, Edmonton Eskimos, and Saskatchewan Roughriders, winning the 1993 Grey Cup with the Eskimos. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Harvey "Tyrone" Jones was a gridiron football all-star and Grey Cup champion linebacker in the Canadian Football League.

Benjamin Ray Zambiasi is a former linebacker for the University of Georgia and in the Canadian Football League.

James "Quick" Parker was a Canadian football player who was a leading defensive player in the Canadian Football League. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kerwin Douglas Bell is an American football coach and former player who is currently the offensive coordinator for the South Florida Bulls football team. Bell was born in the North Central Florida town of Live Oak and was a star high school football quarterback at Lafayette County High School in nearby Mayo, Florida. Bell did not attract the attention of top college football programs while playing at the small high school, so he decided to attend the University of Florida in nearby Gainesville and join the Florida Gators football team as a walk-on.

Kevin Eiben Player of American and Canadian football

Kevin Eiben is a former professional Canadian football linebacker who is currently the special teams coach for the Toronto Argonauts and of the Canadian Football League. He was drafted 26th overall by the Argonauts in the 2001 CFL Draft and spent the first 11 years of his playing career with the team, followed by 1 season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He played college football for the Bucknell Bison.

Cameron Wake American football defensive lineman, linebacker

Derek Cameron Wake is an American football outside linebacker for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Penn State University, and was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2005.

Kenneth E. Lehmann is a former linebacker for the Ottawa Rough Riders and BC Lions of the Canadian Football League from 1964 to 1972. He was a CFL All-Star from 1965 to 1969 and was a part of two Grey Cup victories for the Rough Riders, in 1968 and 1969.

Jacksonville Dolphins

The Jacksonville Dolphins are the athletics team of Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. The Dolphins participate in NCAA Division I athletics, and are primarily members of the Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN). Some teams in sports that are not sponsored by the A-Sun play in other conferences. The football team plays in the Pioneer Football League, the men's lacrosse team is a member of the Southern Conference, and the men's and women's rowing teams are in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

1972 BC Lions season

The 1972 BC Lions finished in fifth place in the Western Conference with a 5–11 record and failed to make the playoffs.

1973 BC Lions season

The 1973 BC Lions finished in third place in the Western Conference with a 5–9–2 record. They beat the Calgary Stampeders in the final game of the regular season to make the playoffs. However, the Lions would lose to Saskatchewan in the Wester Semi-Final 33–13.

1975 BC Lions season

The 1975 BC Lions finished in fifth place in the Western Conference with a 6–10 record and failed to make the playoffs.

References

  1. Our Sports Central, September 29, 2009, "Lions mourn loss of Ray Nettles"
  2. Canadian Press, September 29, 2009, "Canadian Football Hall of Famer Ray Nettles dies at 60 after cancer battle"
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Frenette, Gene: Florida Times-Union, September 30, 2009, "Former Jacksonville football star Ray Nettles dies at 60"
  4. Ray Nettles, Canadian Football Hall of Fame
  5. Frenette, Gene (July 10, 2009). "Ray Nettles seeks redemption while facing a terminal illness". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved September 30, 2009.
  6. Frenette, Gene (September 29, 2009). "'He wasn't afraid of anything': Ex-B.C. Lions star Ray Nettles dies of cancer". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved September 30, 2009.
  7. "CFL mourns the loss of Ray Nettles". Canadian Football League. September 29, 2009. Retrieved September 30, 2009.