|Date of birth:May 18, 1958|
|Place of birth: Rome, Georgia, U.S.|
|High school: East Rome High School|
|College: Georgia University|
|NFL Draft: 1980 / Round: 2 / Pick: 32|
|Debuted in 1980|
|Last played in 1990|
Career highlights and awards
|Stats at pro-football-reference.com|
|Stats at DatabaseFootball.com|
Raymond Canute Donaldson (born May 18, 1958 in Rome, Georgia) is a former American football Center who played 17 seasons in the National Football League. He was selected to six Pro Bowls (four of them in his stay with the Colts) and then he played in Super Bowl XXX as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Donaldson played college football at the University of Georgia.
Donaldson attended East Rome High School where he participated in basketball and football, playing as a linebacker, fullback and tight end. As a senior he received High School All-American and All‐State honors. His jersey has since been retired.
He entered Georgia University as a linebacker, but as a sophomore after the fifth game of the season, because of injuries, he made a seamless transition to center. He also played guard during his time in college.
In 2006, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. In 2010, he was inducted into the Rome Sports Hall of Fame.
Donaldson, was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 2nd round of the 1980 NFL Draft. As a rookie he was a reserve offensive lineman, until his second year when he became the team starting center and it is believed that he also became the first starting African-American center in NFL History. He played with the Colts for 13 years and made the Pro Bowl 4 straight seasons from 1986 to 1989.
He was released at the end of the 1992 season at age 35. He left the team ranked third in franchise history in games played (184). To this day, he is still tied for second-place all-time for years of service with the team, trailing only Johnny Unitas who spent 17 years with the franchise.
Needing help at center after Mark Stepnoski signed with the Houston Oilers, the Dallas Cowboys signed Donaldson as an unrestricted free agent in 1995. That season he was the NFL's oldest starting center until suffering a broken right ankle and being placed on injured reserve. He was replaced by Derek Kennard and missed the last 4 regular season games at and all of the playoffs, including Super Bowl XXX.
Donaldson retired at the end of the 1996 season, after playing for 17 years and 244 games. During his time with the Cowboys, he experienced a career renaissance, making the Pro Bowl both seasons. He was also part of a formidable offensive line that included: Larry Allen, Nate Newton, Mark Tuinei and Erik Williams. He was released for salary cap reasons in the 1997 off-season.
- Former Pro Bowler Ray Donaldson Honored
- Donaldson was sharp player while starring at East Rome
- After 16 seasons, Donaldson still All-Pro