Jim Langer, 1948 - 2019

Jim Langer, 1948 - 2019

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Hall of Famer Jim Langer, one of the greatest centers in National Football League history, passed away last night at the age of 71.

His road to Canton began as a free agent from South Dakota State who signed with the Cleveland Browns in 1970 but was cut. He then signed with the Miami Dolphins and soon found a spot as a starter on their offensive line that helped the team to great success throughout the decade. He was a key member of the famous 1972 team that went undefeated. Langer played every offensive down of that historic 17-0 season and reportedly only needed help on three of his more than 500 blocking assignments.

“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame mourns the passing of Jim Langer,” Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker commented. “He lived an incredible life. From a free agent to a Bronzed Bust, Jim’s selfless sacrifice, perseverance and never giving up on his goal are important life lessons that can inspire us all. He was the ultimate teammate. His contributions to this game, especially how integral he was to the Miami Dolphins’ sustained success throughout the 1970s, will live forever in Canton, Ohio where the Hall of Fame flag now flies at half-staff in his memory.”

Langer is one of just 17 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who began their careers as a free agent. 

"I look back now and I can see that the only advantage to being drafted high is financially. I think a player that comes up the way I did get a lot more out of the game,” Langer once commented. “If my career ended today or tomorrow, I don’t think I could say I got a bad deal. I have nothing bad to say about the game. I think it’s because of the fact that I came up the way I did. I feel I earned my job and that I’m justified where I am.”

He was noted for his solid play punctuated by his strong work ethic, quickness and professional demeanor. Langer was selected first-team All-Pro four times, All-AFC five straight seasons and voted to six Pro Bowls.

The Little Falls, Minnesota native played in three Super Bowls including consecutive victories in Super Bowls VII and VIII.

“Our offensive line during the back-to-back Super Bowl years made very few mental or physical errors and Jim was the leader up front,” shared legendary coach Don Shula when he served as Langer’s Hall of Fame presenter.

After 10 seasons with Miami, he returned to his native state when Miami respected his request to be traded to the Minnesota Vikings. He played two more years before retiring after the 1981 season. 

Langer, whose team record 128 consecutive starts stood for years, was named the Dolphins’ Most Valuable Player in 1975 and enshrined into the team’s Honor Roll when it was created in 1990. He was also a charter inductee of the Dolphins’ Walk of Fame and voted as one of the Dolphins’ all-time top 50 players during the club’s 50th season celebration in 2015. 

Langer was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s and enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987, his first year of eligibility

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