Raymond Chester

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Raymond Chester
Date of birth: (1948-06-28) June 28, 1948 (age 66)
Place of birth: Cambridge, MD, United States
Career information
Position(s): Tight end
College: Morgan State
NFL Draft: 1970 / Round: 1/ Pick 24
Organizations
As player:
1970-1972
1973-1977
1978-1981
1983
Oakland Raiders
Baltimore Colts
Oakland Raiders
Oakland Invaders (USFL)
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1979
Career stats
Playing stats at NFL.com

Raymond Tucker Chester (born June 28, 1948) is a former American Football tight end. After graduating from Douglass High School in Baltimore, Maryland, Chester played college football at the historically Black University, Morgan State. He was a member of the Morgan State Bears’ 1968 undefeated team, scoring the Bears’ only touchdown in their historic victory over Grambling at Yankee Stadium.

Drafted in the first round as the 24th pick overall in the 1970 NFL Draft, Chester began his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders. Pulling in seven touchdowns and over five hundred yards receiving in his NFL debut, Chester received the Rookie of the Year award and secured his first of four career Pro Bowl selections. After a trade in 1973 to the Baltimore Colts, Chester played five seasons with them before returning to Oakland. He played with the Raiders in 1980, becoming a Super Bowl Champion after their defeat of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Early years[edit]

Born in Cambridge, Maryland, Chester is the fourth of ten siblings born to Ivy and Bertha Chester. His passion for sports began during his years at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, where he excelled in track and wrestling as well as football. He moved on to Morgan State, concentrating his athletic efforts on football under the guidance of legendary head coach Earl Banks.

During one of the Bears’ three unbeaten seasons in 1968, Chester played in the match-up between Morgan State and Grambling. The historical game was the first of its kind, pitting two historically black colleges against each other on one of the largest stages of that era—Yankee Stadium.

In that epic battle, Chester hauled in Morgan State’s only touchdown, leading to the Bears’ ultimate 9-7 victory over the Grambling Tigers.

Chester was a member of the 1970 College All-Star team.

Professional career[edit]

Chester entered the NFL draft in 1970, selected in the first round by the Oakland Raider (24th overall) by legendary owner Al Davis. He started in his rookie season, contributing to the Raiders’ 8-4-2 season and their appearance in the AFC Division Playoffs. Along with his 42 receptions, 556 yards, and 7 touchdowns, Chester’s performance earned him the NFL Rookie of the Year and his first of four Pro Bowl selections. Davis and Chester would remain close friends until Davis’s death in 2011.

Chester returned to his hometown in 1973 when he was traded to the Baltimore Colts. During his five seasons with the Colts, Chester racked up 2,123 yards receiving, 11 touchdowns, and a key contributor to the Colts winning three division titles (’75, ’76, ’77).

After a trade, Chester returned to the Oakland Raiders in 1978. He had his best career statistics in 1979 with 712 reception yards and eight touchdowns. The following year, Chester became a Super Bowl champion when the Raiders defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV (27-10).

After the 1981 season, with an impending move to Los Angeles by the Raiders, Chester decided to retire from the NFL.

He became involved in the development of a new league, the United States Football League (USFL), which consisted of 18 teams, with one coming to Oakland. Chester came out of retirement and played a single season with the Oakland Invaders in 1983. The team won the Pacific division and Chester earned the USFL Man of the Year award.

Post NFL[edit]

An avid golfer, Chester managed the Lake Chabot Golf Course for 20 years. Currently he acts as a consultant for golf course development and management. He is a member of the Maryland Athlete Hall of Fame as well as the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

In 2014, a campaign was launched by the Black Sports Legends Foundation to get Chester elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well. At that time, Chester said: "I think it’s time that the Hall of Fame selection committee go back and recognize some of the guys who were absolutely the best player in their era...And no one can dispute that I was one of the top three players at my position in my era. No one can dispute that."

References[edit]