Air Coryell legend Doug Wilkerson’s path to NFL was supposed to ride Duffy’s Underground Railroad

PHOTO: Doug Wilkerson is a member of the Black College Football Hall of Fame from his career at N.C. Central, but he planned to ride Duffy Daugherty's Michigan State Underground Railroad. That was until a schoolyard bet gone bad. By TOM SHANAHAN Doug Wilkerson’s death Monday at age 73 generated stories reflecting reverently on his career at three levels of football, professional, college and high school. And he deserved all the words of praise. He was as a…

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Air Coryell’s influence on Cardinals and Chargers Pro Bowlers

Photo: Don Coryell turned Jim Hart into a four-time Pro Bowler. By TOM SHANAHAN Before Fred Dryer played the TV detective "Hunter," he was a 12-year NFL veteran and All-American defensive end for Don Coryell at San Diego State. “Hunter” had a detective hunch about Coryell’s Pro Bowl influence on his Chargers and Cardinals players. Dryer believed comparing a star's Pro Bowl trips before and after they played for Coryell would be quite revealing. His theory was based on…

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Dan Dierdorf’s case for Don Coryell and the Pro Football Hall of Fame

PHOTO: Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Dierdorf and Don Coryell in St. Louis. Visit my website homepage, TomShanahan.Report By TOM SHANAHAN The NFL largely remembers Don Coryell for his dynamic Air Coryell teams in San Diego. Dan Dierdorf begs to differ. “We saw him first in St. Louis,” said Dierdorf. Coryell’s innovative passing game with the old St. Louis Cardinals was sandwiched between equally novel periods throwing the ball at San Diego State (1961-72) and during his…

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