Abner Haynes

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Abner Haynes
No. 28
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1937-09-19) September 19, 1937 (age 79)
Place of birth: Denton, Texas
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school: Dallas (TX) Lincoln
College: North Texas
NFL Draft: 1960 / Round: 5 / Pick: 55
(Pittsburgh Steelers)
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career AFL statistics
Rushing yards: 4,630
Average: 4.5
Touchdowns: 46
All-Purpose yards: 12,065
Total touchdowns: 68
Player stats at NFL.com

Abner Haynes (born September 19, 1937) is a former professional American football running back.

Early years[edit]

Born in Denton, Texas, Haynes graduated from Lincoln High School in Dallas in 1956.[1] He played college football at North Texas State College in Denton (now the University of North Texas) where he and his then teammate Leon King integrated college football in the state of Texas in 1956.[1][2]

Pro career[edit]

Although selected in the fifth round (55th overall) of the 1960 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Haynes chose to play for the AFL's Dallas Texans and led the league in rushing attempts, yards, and TDs in its first year.[1] Haynes helped popularize the AFL in 1960, when he was the fledgling league's first Player of the Year, and its first Rookie of the Year. He captured the AFL's first rushing crown with 875 yards, and also led the Texans in receiving, punt returns, and kickoff returns. Haynes spent three years in Dallas and two with same franchise when it became the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963. The Chiefs and the North Texas Eagles both retired his number 28 in honor of his many achievements.

Haynes still owns 10 franchise records, including most points in a game (30), most touchdowns in a game (5), and most career combined yards (8,442). Over his career he was regularly among the American Football League's top ten rushers, ranking third all-time, and the all-time leader in touchdowns, with 46. He was Hall of Fame head coach Hank Stram's most versatile and dangerous weapon from 1960–62, amassing 43 touchdowns and 4,472 yards on rushes and receptions. In 1962, he helped the Texans win the AFL championship game in the classic double-overtime victory over the two-time defending champion Houston Oilers. At the time it was the longest professional football championship game ever played. In that game, Haynes scored touchdowns on a 28-yard pass reception from quarterback Len Dawson, and on a 2-yard run.

"He was a franchise player before they talked about franchise players", praised Stram. "He did it all -- rushing, receiving, kickoff returns, punt returns. He gave us the dimension we needed to be a good team in Dallas."[citation needed]

The 6-foot (1.83 m), 190-pound (86 kg) Haynes, who had great speed and dazzling moves in the open field, set AFL records with 5 touchdowns in a game and 19 touchdowns in a season in 1961, and with 46 career rushing touchdowns. He also played for the Denver Broncos,[3][4] the Miami Dolphins,[5] and the New York Jets.[6] A notable game for Haynes was in 1962 on September 30 against the Buffalo Bills at the Cotton Bowl; he ran for 164 yards on just 16 attempts (10+ yards per carry), with two touchdown runs, one of 71 yards and one of 13 yards, in the Texans' 41–21 victory.[7]

During his 8 professional seasons, Haynes carried the ball 1,036 times for 4,630 yards, a 4.5 average; caught 287 passes for 3,535 yards, a 12.3 average, and 20 touchdowns; returned 85 punts for 875 yards, a 10.3 average, and 1 touchdown; and ran back 121 kickoffs for 3,025 yards, a 25.0 average, and 1 touchdown. His 12,065 combined yards is the American Football League record. Haynes had three games in which he gained 100 or more yards on 14 or fewer carries, and was selected to the All-Time All-AFL second team. He has a program called "Heroes of Football" which connects former professional players with their communities. Haynes is the cousin of Sly Stone, Rose Stone, and, Feddie Stone of Sly and the Family Stone.[8]

"We’ll Kick to the Clock"[edit]

In the 1962 AFL Championship Game, Haynes made what could have been a costly error at the start of overtime.[9] Coach Stram, aware of the strong winds at Jeppesen Stadium, instructed Haynes, should the Texans win the coin toss, to choose the end of the field facing the stadium clock, which would give the Texans the wind at their backs. (In professional American football, the team winning the coin toss can choose either to elect whether to kickoff or receive the kickoff, or elect which goal to defend. If that team's election is regarding the kickoff, the other team gets to elect which goal to defend; and vice versa.)

The Texans won the coin toss. Haynes, assuming that when the Texans elected which goal to defend, the Oilers would elect to receive the kickoff (thereby gaining first possession of the ball), told the referee, "We'll kick to the clock." However, by starting with the words "We'll kick", Haynes had made the election for the Texans to kick off, allowing the Oilers, not the Texans, to choose which goal to defend.[9] The Texans saved Haynes from embarrassment by not allowing the Oilers to score in that first overtime, then won the game on Tommy Brooker's field goal 2 minutes and 54 seconds into the second overtime (after the teams had switched ends).

When asked about his mistake following the game, Haynes said "I knew we'd need the wind behind us in the sixth quarter."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Texans have no trouble in selling Haynes". Lewiston Daily Sun. Maine. Associated Press. July 22, 1961. p. 8. 
  2. ^ http://web3.unt.edu/news/story.cfm?story=8938
  3. ^ "Abner Haynes sent to Denver in trade". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. January 21, 1965. p. 4D. 
  4. ^ "Haynes traded to Denver". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. January 22, 1965. p. 14. 
  5. ^ "Abner Haynes not a problem". Lewiston Daily Sun. Maine. Associated Press. September 21, 1967. p. 26. 
  6. ^ "Jets snatch up castoff Haynes". Victoria Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. December 7, 1967. p. 14A. 
  7. ^ "Hay(n)es rolls up 164 yards as Texans down Bills, 41-21". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Florida. Associated Press. October 1, 1962. p. 15. 
  8. ^ Kaliss, Jeff (2009). I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly and the Family Stone (revised ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 3. ISBN 0879309849. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b "Haynes had orders, but...". Chicago Daily Tribune. December 24, 1962. p. 1, part 3. 

External links[edit]

New title
AFL created
American Football League MVP
Succeeded by
George Blanda
New title
AFL created
American Football League Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Earl Faison
New title
AFL created
American Football League Rushing Leader
1960 (14 games)
875 Yards, 5.6 yds/carry
Succeeded by
Billy Cannon