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"Football helped me to get into business. I’ve met many fine people. Football changed my life a lot, an awful lot. It was good to me.”
(Notre Dame)...6'3'', 240...George Leo Connor ... All-American at both Holy Cross, Notre Dame ... New York Giants' No. 1 draft pick, 1946 ... Rights traded to Boston Yanks and then to Bears ... All-NFL at three positions - offensive tackle, defensive tackle, linebacker ... All-NFL five years ... Two-way performer throughout career ... First of big, fast, agile linebackers ... Exceptional at diagnosing enemy plays ... Played in four Pro Bowl games, 1950-1953 ... Born January 21, 1925, in Chicago, Illinois ... Died March 31, 2003, at age of 78.
George Connor earned All-America honors three times, once at Holy Cross in 1943 and then at Notre Dame in 1946 and 1947. During his eight-year career (1948-1955) with the Bears, he was named to the All-NFL team at three different positions — offensive tackle, defensive tackle, and linebacker. In 1952 and 1953, he was named all-league on both the offensive and defensive teams by different wire services.
Although George is remembered as one of the finest of the post-World War II tackles, it was as a linebacker that he made his biggest mark in the pro football world. And it was the sheer necessity of a desperate situation for the Chicago Bears that prompted George's switch to a linebacker position.
The Philadelphia Eagles were running roughshod over the NFL in 1949 and one end sweep with two guards and the fullback leading Steve Van Buren around the flank had been particularly successful. The Bears coaching staff hit upon the idea of moving a big, fast, and agile man like the 6-3, 240-pound Connor into a linebacker’s slot to try to stop the play. The move was made, the experiment was successful, the Eagles were beaten and Connor became a linebacker for keeps.
That didn't mean, however, that he was a one-way specialist. He continued to play offensive tackle, winning All-NFL acclaim on both offense and defense. George was always one of the smartest men on the field wherever he played. He seemingly instinctively knew about keys – the tips that the movements of certain offensive players will provide to the alert defender as to which way the play if going – long before keys became the vogue.
Connor always played the game hard and clean and with exceptional effectiveness and he might have continued in a starring role for many years had not a knee injury cut short his career after the 1955 season.
Full Name: George Leo Connor
Birthdate: January 21, 1925
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Died: March 31, 2003
High School: De La Salle (Chicago, IL)
Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 11, 1975
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 2, 1975
Presenter: George Halas, Connor's Coach with Bears
Other Members of Class of 1975: Roosevelt Brown, Dante Lavelli, Lenny Moore
Pro Career: 8 seasons, 90 games
Drafted: 1st round (5th overall) by New York Giants
Uniform Number: 71, (81)
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