Preserving History & Legacies
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This Month in History…1887 Florida A&M founded as the State Normal College for Colored Students…1877 Natchez Seminary (Jackson State University) founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York and moved to Jackson, MS in 1882, and renamed Jackson College…1928 Johnson C. Smith University organized its First Men’s Basketball Team…1867 Morehouse College founded as Augusta College in the basement of Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia and relocated in Atlanta in 1879…1950 First All-Black District 29 organized by the NAIA in the first step towards breaking the color barrier in college basketball…1983 Circle City Classic was established in Indianapolis, Indiana as an annual football classic featuring two HBCUs…
The Quiet Assasin
June 3, 1943 –
In pro football, making the Hall of Fame can be the epitome of success for a player or coach..
Emmitt Thomas is an example of class and determination. He played college football at the now defunct Bishop College in Dallas, Texas. Undrafted in 1966, he impressed the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League who signed him to a free agent contract. Two years later, he became an AFL All-Star. In 1969, he led all pro football with 9 interceptions, which he returned for 146 yards and a touchdown, and played a big part in helping the Chiefs win the AFL championship and the fourth and last AFL-NFL World Championship Game, which the Chiefs won 23-7 over the NFL champion Vikings.
Thomas recorded an interception in the Kansas City victory.
He made the NFL’s AFL-NFC Pro Bowl four times from 1971-75 after the Chiefs joined the NFL in 1970.
Thomas still owns the Chiefs all-time interception record with 58, which is ninth on pro football’s all-time list.
In 1974, he led the NFL with 12 interceptions, return yards (214), and return touchdowns.
He was also selected All-Pro three times. Thomas became an assistant coach in the NFL in 1981 with the Atanta Falcons. He was the Falcons
Senior Defensive Assistant/Secondary Coach before taking over as interim head coach on December 12, 2007 head coach Bobby Petrino suddenly resigned after a bad start to the season. Thomas led the Falcons to a season-ending victory over the Seattle Seahawks. In January 2008, new Falcons head coach Mike Smith retained Thomas as assistant head coach. Thomas was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
He is currently the defensive backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL).
5-time Pro Bowl (1968, 1971-72, 1974-75)
2-time First-team All-Pro (1974-75)
2-time Second-team All-Pro (1969, 1971)
NFL interceptions leader (1974)
AFL interceptions leader (1969)
3-time Super Bowl champion (IV, XXII, XXVI)
2-time AFL champion (1966, 1969)
Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame
Kansas City Chiefs No. 18 retired
Interception yards: 937
“The Biggest Steal in NFL History”
Roosevelt "Rosey" Brown
October 20, 1932 – June 9, 2004
Little can be said about most players who played on a college team that that went 19-11-4 in four seasons. But, this was no ordinary program. Morgan State Golden Bears, once a powerful dynasty that dominated black college football in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference had fallen on lean times.
The Golden Bears under legendary three-sport coach Eddie Hurt who had an unbelievable coaching career from 1929 until his retirement in 1959 had two Pro football Hall of Fame members and numerous of players who went on to play in the professional leagues, 13 CIAA championships, 6 national football championships and a 54-game winning streak in 30 years.
Perhaps the biggest surprise that came out of that program was a little known 180-lb high school player named Roosevelt Brown from Charlottesville, VA. who wasn’t allowed to play the sport after his brother died from a football injury. Big for his age, the 13-year old played in the band until the football coach convinced him to try out for the team.
With that first hurdle out of the way, he went on to earn a football scholarship to play for Coach Hurt at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.
Although the Morgan teams had begun to see leaner years, he still stood out as he was named All-CIAA lineman all four years. The team finished with a 6-2 record in his senior year and he was named to the Pittsburgh Courier’s All-America First Team. Still, he was the 318th player selected in the National Football League in the 27th round (they had 30 rounds!) by the New York Giants.
The Giants signed him to a one-year contract for $3,000 (no signing bonus back then) and a train ticket to training camp. He left for camp with a cardboard suitcase, a homburg, an umbrella and a box lunch. By then, he had grown to 6-3, 225 pounds.
Penciled in at left tackle and given the task of protecting the quarterback, he recalled how “raw” he was when he went up against the more seasoned veterans. But he worked hard at perfecting his blocking techniques and at 255 pounds, he became the linchpin of the Giants offensive line over the next 13 seasons, blocking for the likes of teammates quarterback Y.A. Tittle, halfbacks Frank Gifford, Alex Webster and Mel Triplett.
Gifford, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1956, recalled: “I wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame if it weren’t for him… The longest run of my career was on a pitchout against Washington (Redskins). Rosie made a block at the line of scrimmage. I cut it up, and then I’m running downfield and I look up and I see No. 79 in front of me, and he wiped out another guy.”
Brown was one of only two players to be chosen by all 28 AP voters as a first-team All-NFL player and went on to earn the NFL’s Lineman of the Year award.
From 1956 to 1963, Brown’s Giants teams won one NFL and six division titles.
He was named to eight All-Pro teams and two Pro Bowls.
In 1975, he would join five teammates -including Gifford, Tittle, linebacker Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, and defensive back Emlen Tunnell in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Brown was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team.
Brown retired in November 1964, at age 32 after a bout with phlebitis. He became the Giants’ assistant offensive line coach and was promoted to offensive line coach in 1969. He later worked as a scout for the Giants.
As a player, coach and scout, his career spanned more than 50 years with the Giants.
Not bad for the 318th player drafted in 1953.