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Don Looney, 1916-2015

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04/08/2015
Don Looney, the oldest living former NFL player, died on Sunday at the age of 98.

Looney, a star receiver on the 1938 Texas Christian University National Championship team, was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 8th round (63rd overall) of the 1940 NFL Draft. The rookie started his NFL career in record fashion when he became the first player to log 100 or more yards receiving in each of his first two games. No player equaled that mark until another former Eagles player (DeSean Jackson) did so in 2008. Looney finished his Pro Bowl rookie campaign with a single-season NFL record 58 catches and led the league in receiving yards with 707. 


DYK? Looney played with Hall of Famers Bill Dudley and Walt Kiesling and played for Hall of Famer Owners Art Rooney and Bert Bell.
The following season he was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers where he led the team in receptions and receiving yards. He spent two years with the Steelers before he ended his playing career to serve the United States during World War II. After his service in the military, Looney returned the NFL as a game official in 1956 where he served as field judge until 1962.

During his career, Looney played against the following Hall of Famers: Clarke Hinkle, Arnie Herber, Don HutsonAlphonse "Tuffy" Leemans, Clarence "Ace" Parker, Sammy Baugh, Wayne Millner, Alex Wojciechowicz, Sid Luckman, George McAfee, Joe Styadahar, Dan Fortmann, Clyde "Bulldog" Turner, Frank "Bruiser" Kinard and Tony Canadeo. He also competed against teams coached or owned by Hall of Fame coaches and owners including Art Rooney, George Halas, Steve Owen, George Preston Marshall, Earl "Curly" Lambeau and Charles Bidwill.

Looney’s son, Joe Don Looney,  followed his father’s footsteps and played five years in the NFL (1964-69) before he too ended his playing career when he joined the military in 1970 where he served in Vietnam.

The distinction of the being the oldest living NFL player now belongs to Jack Smith (97 years old) who was a defensive/offensive end with the Philadelphia Eagles (1942) and Washington Redskins (1943).

Related: View sets of fathers and sons who've played professional football>>>

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