The Eagles and Track Guys

The Eagles added WR/CB Teddy Williams to the practice squad. He was a college track star with limited football experience. Williams isn’t the first Eagle to fit this description.

Iggles Blitz reader and resident historian AC Viking offered a good history lesson.

The Eagles have had two genuine track superstars, both of whom are also remembered for their respective roles in two different Olympic dramas.

The first is the great Villanova sprinter Frank Budd, whom the Eagles drafted in the 7th Rd of the ’62 draft (#96 overall — or a 3rd Rd pick today), despite zero college football experience. Budd did play in high school.

Budd ran the opening leg for the US team in the 1960 Olympics in the 4×100. The team set an world record . . . only to be disqualified because of a baton-exchange violation. The gold medal went instead to the West German team.

Budd played only a single season for the Eagles in 1962 — under HC/GM Joe “Must Go” Kuharich. At 5’10” 175lbs, Budd was all speed.

He finished his one-and-done Birds’ career with 5 catches for 130 yards . . . a 26.1 YPC avg. Kuharich cut him anyway. Too many drops it was said.

The other great sprinter to play for the Eagles, though not in a regular season game, is the once-notorious John Carlos. He won the bronze in 200 meters at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and, together with US gold-medal winner Tommie Smith, stood on the victory giving the iconic black-gloved black-power salute.

The Eagles drafted the 6’3″ 210 lb Carlos in Rd 15 of the 1970 draft out of San Jose State. No prior football experience. None in college. None in high school.

Carlos signed with the Eagles in time for training camp — actually landing a signing bonus of about $15,000 and rookie contract that, in total, almost doubled the minimum. Big money back then.

The Birds assigned receivers coach Charlie Gauer and DB coach Irv Cross to tutor Carlos in the art of playing WR. He tore up his knee in TC running a route, though, and spent the year on IR.

The Birds had kept Carlos around hoping he’d learn the ropes of playing WR.

At the end of TC in 1971 — with the roster capped at 40 players and 6 of them being RBs — the Eagles had choice: Keep Carlos and hope he develops, or go with a gangly 6’7″ rookie 7th Rd pick at TE from Southern named Harold Carmichael.

And you know the rest of that story.

Great stuff.

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Back in 2006, the Eagles looked into signing track star Justin Gatlin, but things didn’t work out.


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One Response to The Eagles and Track Guys

  1. Jonathan katz says:

    Nick skorich was head coach in 1962 when frank budd was on team. Sonny Jorgensen was QB and able to overthrow budd.
    Kuharich first year as head coach was 1964.
    Ironically he brought in another track guy who was a real football player
    Ollie Matson!!!!
    Matson won a bronze medal in the 1952 Olympics
    Kuharich coached Matson in college.

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