Warren Wells

Last updated
Warren Wells
No. 87, 81
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Born:(1942-11-14)November 14, 1942
Franklin, Louisiana
Died:December 27, 2018(2018-12-27) (aged 76)
Beaumont, Texas
Career information
High school: Hebert
College: Texas Southern
NFL Draft: 1964  / Round: 12 / Pick: 160
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receiving yards:3,655
Player stats at PFR

Warren Wells (November 14, 1942 – December 27, 2018) was an American college and professional football player, who played wide receiver for five seasons, with the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders. He had success with the Raiders with one 1,000-yard season and a Pro Bowl nomination, but saw his career end because of legal troubles.


Early life

Wells grew up in Beaumont, Texas, where he attended Hebert High School; he was one of 16 pro footballers honored with the keys to the city in 1971. [1] He attended Texas Southern University until 1964 when he was taken in the 12th round of the 1964 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. [2]

Professional football career

He made appearances in nine games with the Lions and made two receptions for 21 yards for his rookie year. However, he was drafted into the U.S. Army after the season ended. In 1967, he returned from his military service and signed with the Raiders. While with the Raiders, with mostly Daryle Lamonica as his quarterback, he was one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the league, [3] [4] finishing with over 20 yards per catch in all four seasons. [5]

Wells started off his Raiders career with a week 2 appearance against the Denver Broncos. He made two catches for 96 yards with a touchdown, scoring from 50 yards from a George Blanda pass. [6] He would appear in seven of the Raider games in the regular season, making thirteen catches for 302 yards with six touchdowns. In Super Bowl II, Wells had just one catch for 17 yards in the 33–14 loss to the Green Bay Packers (after making no catches against the Houston Oilers in the AFL title game). Wells would bounce further in 1968. As a starter for 12 games, Wells caught 53 passes for 1,137 yards for a league-leading 11 touchdowns. In the postseason run for the Raiders, he caught four passes for 93 yards for two touchdowns as Oakland advanced to the AFL title game with a 41–6 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. In the AFL Championship against the New York Jets, he caught three passes for 83 yards but the Raiders lost 27–23.

In 1969, he continued his run. He led the league in receiving yards (1,260) and touchdowns (14) while also averaging 90 yards per game. However, in the 1969 run to the postseason, he was held to just one catch for 24 yards in the loss. In 1970, he managed to snag 43 passes for 935 yards with 11 touchdowns. In the playoffs, Wells only played in the AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Colts. He caught a touchdown pass from George Blanda to narrow the score to 20-17 in the fourth quarter, but Baltimore scored soon after to pull away. Wells was the lead receiver for the Raiders, having caught five passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. This turned out to be his last professional game. [7]

He was an AFL All-Star in 1968 and an AFC-NFC All-Pro in 1970. Until the league changed their guidelines for yards per reception counting for those with at least 200 receptions, Wells had the league record for yards per reception, having averaged 23.1 yards on 158 receptions. [8]

Before the 1971 season started, Wells' career was cut short following legal difficulties relating to his divorce and subsequent criminal charges. Following the Pro Bowl game in Los Angeles on January 24, 1971, Wells was met by police in the locker room and arrested on a warrant for a probation violation originating from his conviction in 1969 for aggravated assault (Eugene Register Guard, Jan 25, 1971 "Warren Wells Nabbed After Tilt"). Further, according to an article in the Dallas Morning Star, dated July 7, 2016, (Flashback: DFW produces a ton of football talent, but another part of Texas is 'the pro football capital of the world') "in 1969, he was charged with rape, a charge later reduced to aggravated assault. His probation was revoked in 1970 because he was drinking in a bar, a violation further complicated when a woman stabbed him in the chest. He missed the 1971 season while serving 10 months in a California prison. The Raiders released him in 1971 and he never played football again. [9]

His personal life disintegrated further after his career was over. In 1976, he was arrested in Beaumont for robbery while panhandling. Also noted by the Bay Area newspapers during this time, Wells was arrested for carrying a gun in his car, and a judge, instead of sending him to prison, allowed him to enter Synanon House, a drug rehabilitation center.[ citation needed ]

Later life and death

Following his career, Wells continued to struggle with alcoholism and later dementia, but later became sober. Wells died in Beaumont, Texas on December 27, 2018 from a heart attack at the age of 76. [10] [2] His brain was later sent to be tested for chronic traumatic encephalopathy.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

The second AFL-NFL World Championship Game was an American football game played on January 14, 1968, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. The National Football League (NFL)'s defending champion Green Bay Packers defeated the American Football League (AFL) champion Oakland Raiders by the score of 33–14. This game and following year's are the only two Super Bowls played in the same stadium in consecutive seasons.

Daryle Pasquale Lamonica was an American football quarterback who played in the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL) for 12 seasons, primarily with the Oakland Raiders. He spent his first four seasons mostly as a backup for the Buffalo Bills, who selected him in the 24th round of the 1963 AFL Draft. Lamonica played his next eight seasons as the primary starter of the Raiders, including after they joined the NFL through the AFL–NFL merger.

Lionel Thomas Taylor is a former American football wide receiver who led the American Football League (AFL) in receptions for five of the first six years of the league's existence.

Charlie Hennigan American football player (1935–2017)

Charles Taylor Hennigan, Sr. was an American football player with the former Houston Oilers of the American Football League (AFL).

Don Maynard American football player (1935–2022)

Donald Rogers Maynard was an American professional football player who was a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) with the New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals; the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) with the New York Jets; and the World Football League (WFL) with the Shreveport Steamer.

Fred Biletnikoff American gridiron football player and coach (born 1943)

Frederick S. Biletnikoff is a former gridiron football player and coach. He was a wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) for fourteen seasons and later an assistant coach with the team. He retired as an NFL player after the 1978 season, and then played one additional season in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the Montreal Alouettes in 1980. While he lacked the breakaway speed to be a deep-play threat, Biletnikoff was one of the most sure-handed and consistent receivers of his day, with a propensity for making spectacular catches. He was also known for running smooth, precise pass routes. He is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1988) and College Football Hall of Fame (1991).

Cliff Branch American football player (1948–2019)

Clifford Branch Jr. was an American professional football player who was a wide receiver with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders during his entire 14-year National Football League (NFL) career. He won three NFL championships with the Raiders in Super Bowl XI, XV and XVIII. He was selected by the Raiders in the fourth round of the 1972 NFL Draft after playing college football for the Colorado Buffaloes. He was posthumously elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2022.

For its first nine seasons, 1960 through 1968, the American Football League determined its champion via a single playoff game between the winners of its two divisions.

1970–71 NFL playoffs

The National Football League playoffs for the 1970 season began on December 26, 1970. The postseason tournament concluded with the Baltimore Colts defeating the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V, 16–13, on January 17, 1971, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.

Bill Groman American football player (1936–2020)

William Frederick Groman was an American professional football player who was a wide receiver in the American Football League (AFL). He played college football at Heidelberg College, and played professionally for the Houston Oilers from 1960 through 1962 and was on the first two AFL championship teams. He played for the Denver Broncos in 1963, and for the Buffalo Bills in 1964 and 1965, playing on the Bills' two league championship teams. In his six years of professional football, he played on four AFL championship teams, the only man ever to do so.

The 1967 Oakland Raiders season was the team's eighth in Oakland. Under the command of second-year head coach John Rauch, the Raiders went 13–1 (.929), an AFL record, and captured their first Western Division title, four games ahead of runner-up Kansas City, the defending league champion.

William Joseph Miller is a former professional American football wide receiver in the American Football League (AFL). He played six seasons for the Dallas Texans (1962), the Buffalo Bills (1963), and the Oakland Raiders (1964–1968). He is currently retired and living in St. Augustine, Florida.

Robert Hardy "Bake" Turner is a former American football player who played at the wide receiver position. He played collegiately at Texas Technological College, then professionally for nine seasons. He was with the New York Jets of the American Football League, where in 1963 he replaced Art Powell who had been traded to the Oakland Raiders. He was a member of the Jets' AFL and Super Bowl III teams after the 1968 Pro Football season, and also played for the Baltimore Colts and Boston Patriots of the National Football League.

Otis Taylor is a former American football wide receiver. He played in college at Prairie View A&M University. He was drafted by the American Football League's Kansas City Chiefs in the 4th round of the 1965 AFL Draft. He was also selected in the 15th round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He chose to play in the AFL for the Chiefs where he would spend his entire career.

1965 San Diego Chargers season NFL team season

The 1965 San Diego Chargers season was their sixth as a professional AFL franchise; the team improved on their 8–5–1 record in 1964. Head Coach Sid Gillman led the Chargers to their fifth AFL West title, with a 9–2–3 record, before losing the AFL Championship Game to the Buffalo Bills for the second consecutive season. It would prove to be the Chargers' last post-season appearance until (1979).

1964 San Diego Chargers season NFL team season

The 1964 San Diego Chargers season was their fifth as a professional AFL franchise; the team failed to repeat as AFL champions after winning it in 1963 with a record of 11–3, and finished at 8–5–1. San Diego struggled at the start and finish of the season, but a six-game winning streak in the middle proved to be enough to win the AFL West, in a league where the two strongest teams were in the Eastern division.

1962 San Diego Chargers season NFL team season

The 1962 San Diego Chargers season was the club's third in the American Football League. San Diego had won the AFL West with a 12–2 record in 1961, but slipped to 4–10, losing eight of their final nine games after a 3–2 start. It was their worst record to date; this would be the only time the Chargers would endure a losing season during their 10 years in the AFL.

The 1968 AFL Championship Game was the ninth annual American Football League's championship game, played on December 29 at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York City, New York. It matched the defending champion Oakland Raiders (12–2) of the Western Division and the host New York Jets (11–3) of the Eastern Division, who were slight favorites. The Raiders had hosted a tiebreaker playoff game the week before against the Kansas City Chiefs (12–2) to determine the Western Division champion, while the Eastern champion Jets were idle.

The 1975 AFC Championship Game was the sixth title game of the American Football Conference. Played on January 4, 1976, the game was hosted by the AFC Central champion and defending AFC and Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers who, in a rematch of the 1974 title game, played the AFC West champion Oakland Raiders at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Along with the 1975 NFC Championship Game played on the same day, this game constituted the penultimate round of the 1975-76 NFL playoffs which had followed the 1975 regular season of the National Football League.


  1. Sherrington, Kevin (July 7, 2016) [1999]. "Flashback: DFW produces a ton of football talent, but another part of Texas is 'the pro football capital of the world'". The Dallas Morning News .
  2. 1 2 Slotnik, Daniel E. (31 December 2018). "Warren Wells, Star Receiver With a Derailed Career, Dies at 76". The New York Times.
  3. Parker, Craig; Kimball, George. Football's Blackest Hole. Frog Books, 2003. ISBN   1-58394-092-8, ISBN   978-1-58394-092-1
  4. Travers, Steven. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Oakland Raiders: Heart-Pounding, Jaw-Dropping, and Gut-Wrenching Moments from Oakland Raiders History. Triumph Books, 2008. ISBN   1-57243-927-0, ISBN   978-1-57243-927-6
  5. "Warren Wells Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  6. "Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders - September 10th, 1967".
  7. "Championship - Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Colts - January 3rd, 1971".
  8. "NFL Records". www.nfl.com.
  9. Dickey Glenn. Just Win, Baby: Al Davis and His Raiders. Harcourt, 1991. ISBN   0-15-146580-0, ISBN   978-0-15-146580-4
  10. "Warren Wells, former Raiders wide receiver, dies at 76". NBCS Bay Area. 27 December 2018.