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Loran - Smith

Philly Dawgs
By Loran Smith
By Loran Smith


When the Eagles drafted Georgia’s Nolan Smith soon after having picked Jalen Carter earlier, a couple of calls came in regarding the foursome of Bulldogs on the Philadelphia roster—Nakobe Dean and Jordan Davis having joined the team a year earlier. While it has not become a long- standing tradition, four Bulldogs on the Eagles’ roster has happened before. When the team of the late NFL Commissioner Bert Bell won the NFL title in 1960, there were four former UGA players who were members of that world championship team: Marion Campbell, Bobby Walston, Riley Gunnels and Theron Sapp.

With Norm Van Brocklin at quarterback, the Eagles defeated Green Bay 17-13. There was a historical footnote to the game in that it would be the only playoff defeat suffered by Vince Lombardi who had just taken over as the Packers head coach.

It would be the last year in the City of Brotherly Love for Campbell and Walston. Campbellwentintocoaching, working as an assistant for the New England Patriots, and Walston eventually became the director of player personnel for the Chicago Bears. A couple of years after that, Dave Lloyd, linebacker, and Pete Case, offensive guard, signed with the Eagles—Lloyd by trade and Case via the draft, keeping a foursome of Bulldogs on the roster, intact.

There was a good run by the Eagles in those years with Sonny Jurgensen following Van Brocklin at quarterback, but it didn’t last long. The Eagles traded Jurgensen to Washington where he became a cult hero in the nation’s capital.

As the ’23 draft continued last weekend, the news flashed that Kelee Ringo would become the fifth Philly/Dawg. And if that wasn’t enough, there was a trade that brought former Bulldog running back, D’Andre Swift to Philadelphia, his hometown.

Not sure if that is a record for a modern NFL team, but it sure is doggone impressive. Had that happened in the late Dan Magill’s time, he would have been hell bent on bringing the Philly/Dawgs back home for a banquet tribute. He often did such when a milestone achievement took place.

When I was in the Coast Guard and stationed in Groton, Conn., I often spent the weekends in New York City in the fall. I could get a deluxe rate as a serviceman at an old hotel, the Century, on West 46th Street. Subway tokens were 15 cents, the best deal since the Dutch bought Manhattan for less than two bucks.

I had become acquainted with Will Grimsley, a senior writer with the Associated Press, at the Masters in the spring. He would give me Western Union passes for New York Giants games. I had to sit in the aisle, but for that experience it was one of grandeur for a country boy from Middle Georgia. Will’s generosity brought about an ultimate high with a Western Union pass that enabled me to see a World Series game between the continued from page

Yankees and the San Francisco Giants.

I was fortunate to witness Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle on the grand stage in the Bronx, the original Yankee Stadium. Unforgettable.

On other weekends, I could take the subway to Penn Station and journey to Franklin Field on the Pennsylvania campus and attend an Eagles home game. The train, although I don’t recall the tab, was cheap and Theron Sapp, who, like all the Eagle players, got two tickets to home games, arranged for me to sit with his girlfriend, who was not always the same girlfriend.

Jurgensen and Tommy McDonald were a hot passing combo in those years and the iron man on the team, Chuck Bednarik, lined up at center on offense and linebacker when the defense came on the field.

Am sure there will now be an incentive to organize a trip to see the Philly/Dawgs bond with the ultimate objective of winning a Super Bowl ring to go with the national championship rings they collected in Athens.

That would be fun, but there will have to be an impactful budget amendment compared to what it cost back in 1962.

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