Golden Football Magazine
August 3, 2014
Quotation

"The head coach must remain a little aloof from the players and, to a certain extent, from the coaches."

The first of The Ten Basic Principles of General Robert Neyland, Tennessee coach (1926-52)

General Robert Neyland

Tiger Den

Profile: Young Bussey - V

Members of Northwestern's 2013 squad weren't the first to suggest that football players form a union.

Read more ...

Saints Saga

Season in Time: 1987 Saints - Strike and Game 3

Saints management was ready to put a new team together when the strike hit.

Read more ...

Seminole Sidelines

First Undefeated Season - IV

Undefeated teams usually go to bowl games, and the 1950 Seminoles had their choice of four.

Read more ...

NFL Championship Game - 1951

The same two teams that met for the 1950 title hooked up again, this time in L.A.

Read more ...

Interesting Story

"I come to you with clean hands."
An unknown is elected NFL Commissioner.

Read more ...

Dazzling Debut

Coach Woody Hayes wasn't a fan of the new rule making freshmen eligible until Archie Griffin changed his mind.

Read more ...

Mr. Smith Doesn't Come to Washington
The Pro Football Chronicle, Dan Daly & Bob O'Donnell (1990)

George Preston Marshall

Redskins owner George Preston Marshall let a Washington sportswriter draft a player for him in 1952. The writer was Mo Siegel, who was coveing the team for the Washington Post. The player was Flavious Smith, an end from Tennessee Tech.

You won't find Smith on the team's list of draftees from '52. Or the league's, for that matter. He some­how disappeared between the time commissioner Bert Bell announced his selection and the end of the draft. There­in lies the mystery of an otherwise hila­rious story.

Siegel ... says he pestered Marshall into letting him make the pick on the train ride to New York, where the draft was taking place.

"Marshall's theory was writers didn't always know as much football as they should," Siegel says. "I told him, 'Give me a pick in a later round, and we'll see what I can do.' He didn't have anything to lose, anyway. It was very rare that a player drafted in the later rounds ever made a team in those days."

Sure enough, Marshall approached Siegel after the early rounds were done and told him to come up with the name of a player. Siegel did, and as he re­calls the Redskins selected that player - Flavious Smith - somewhere be­tween the 15th and 20th rounds.

"Congratulations," Siegel remembers Marshall saying, "you've just become the first sportswriter to draft a player."

"Congratulations, George," Siegel replied, "you've just integrated the Red­skins."

What a stunt. Marshall had a strict whites-only policy on the Redskins. Siegel hadn't known whom to draft and had turned to the Chicago Tribune's Ed Prell for help. It was Prell who'd given him Smith's name and the infor­mation that he was black.

"I'm quite sure he [Marshall] thought I was kidding," Siegel says. "I'd been kibitzing with him a lot. But then he tells me the next day that he'd traded Smith, and I'm pretty sure he said to Green Bay."

It's unclear what Marshall did with Smith, but he didn't trade him. The trans­action doesn't show up in the Redskins' records or in press accounts of the draft. According to the Associated Press' team-by-team and round-by-round selections, no player named Flavious Smith was drafted in 1952. Yet Siegel was present when Bell announced the pick for the Redskins. What gives?

We're not certain, but it isn't hard to imagine Marshall and Bell "fixing" the situation behind the scenes. The Redskins could easily have relinquished their rights to Smith and been given another pick later in the draft. No one was paying much attention then, anyway.

Smith, an all-Ohio Valley Conference end as a senior, eventually signed with the Rams as a free agent. "I never heard anything about the Red­skins or the draft," he says. "Two or three tems contacted me about trying out with them. I went with the Rams ..."

The Rams stashed him on a reserve list in 1952, paying him a small amount to play for a semipro team. He was traded to Pittsburgh in '53 and re­leased during training camp. He went into teaching and coaching and even­tually completed his Ph.D. In 1962 he returned to Tennessee Tech, where he's now chairman of the health and physical education department.

He chuckles at the suggestion he might have become the player who inte­grated the Tennessee Tech. Smith, you see, is white.

True statements about blocking in the NFL

Football Quiz

Match each school with its colors.