When Ed Healey, who had only average success as an end at Dartmouth College, heard of a new football league being formed in 1920, he took an overnight train to Rock Island, Illinois, to try out with the Independents. He faced the Chicago Tigers in his first game and played well enough that the management asked to join the team on a permanent basis.
In 1922, while playing against George Halas, the player-coach of the Chicago Bears, Healey dominated his opponent so thoroughly Halas decided he had to have this player on his team. After the game, he bought Healey for $100. Healey was elated to get a raise to $100 a game but was most excited that the Bears had a clubhouse. ''At Rock Island," Ed explained, "we had no showers and seldom a trainer. At Wrigley Field, we had a nice warm place to dress and nice warm showers."
Throughout his NFL career, Healey was a true warrior. Halas often called him "the most versatile tackle in history." He was an all-league pick five times during his eight-year NFL career. Blessed with good speed for a tackle, Healey was involved in at least two unforgettable plays as a Bear. In 1924, "Big Ed" ran more than 30 yards to nail his own teammate, who had run the wrong way with an intercepted pass, just short of the wrong goal line.
Two years later during the Bears' long barnstorming tour that featured the famous Red Grange, Healey made a touchdown-saving play before 60,000 fans, a play he called his greatest pro football thrill. Los Angeles All-Stars running ace George Wilson broke through the Bears line and into the open, but Healey hurdled several of his own teammates and caught Wilson from behind after a long chase.
Edward Francis Healey, Jr.
December 28, 1894
Indian Orchard, Massachusetts
Springfield Classical (Mass.)
December 9, 1978
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame:
September 6, 1964
Harry Stuhldreher, Member of Notre Dame's four horsemen
Other Members of Class of 1964: Jimmy Conzelman
, Clarke Hinkle
, Link Lyman
, Mike Michalske
, Art Rooney
, George Trafton
8 seasons, 89 games
Healey played prior to the NFL draft being implemented