Hall of Fame safety Emlen Tunnell was a pioneer in professional football, but didn’t roll out of bed great. He had to overcome great adversity. There was a time in his life where he almost couldn’t play football, but through the values he learned from the game such as perseverance, he overcame the odds to suit up again on the field and serve in the military.
Tunnell attended the University of Toledo where he suffered a broken neck. Playing football wasn’t an option anymore so he decided to try and serve in the military. His injury was severe enough that both the Army and Navy rejected his enlistment efforts during World War II. The Coast Guard finally accepted Em for duty. Following his Coast Guard service, Tunnell returned to college at the University of Iowa. He left Iowa after the 1947 season and then served as the key “strut” in the New York Giants famed “Umbrella Defense.”
He was Enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 becoming the first African American inducted in the HOF.
To honor Tunnell’s military and playing career, the City Council of Philadelphia introduced a resolution to recognize him. The resolution was unanimously passed by the council and presented to Tunnell’s family. http://www.phillytrib.com/emlen-tunnell/article_8a7e86d0-f5eb-5c2e-af52-9c3eaaafe371.html
The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the U.S. Army recently announced and honored 25-highschool, student-athlete finalists for the U.S. Army-Pro Football Hall of Fame Award for Excellence. The program, now in its fifth year, highlights the achievements of student-athletes across the country.
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