Al Cowlings

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Al Cowlings
No. 82, 76, 70, 72, 79
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1947-06-16) June 16, 1947 (age 69)
Place of birth: San Francisco, California
Career information
High school: San Francisco (CA) Galileo
College: USC
NFL Draft: 1970 / Round: 1 / Pick: 5
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at

Allen Cedric "A.C." Cowlings (born June 16, 1947) is a former American football player. He played in the NFL (NFL) from 1970 to 1979 for the Buffalo Bills, Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and San Francisco 49ers. Cowlings was taken 5th overall in the first round by the Buffalo Bills in the 1970 NFL Draft.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Cowlings grew up in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood, where he was a member of the Superiors social club which held meetings at the Booker T. Washington Community Center. He attended Galileo High School, where he played football. He later attended City College of San Francisco, where he also played on the football team.[3][4]

Football career[edit]

Cowlings was named an All-American defensive tackle after his senior year at USC.[5] During that senior year, the 1969 Trojan team went undefeated, and Cowlings led a powerful defensive line which was nicknamed "The Wild Bunch" after the movie.[5]

Cowlings was drafted 5th in the first round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He was a starter his first three years in Buffalo, but he was traded to Houston after the 1972 season. He played all 14 games for the Oilers in both 1973 and 1974, but he played just 5 games in 1975 for the Rams. In 1976, he became a charter member of the Seahawks, after being signed off the waiver wire when the Rams released him at the end of the pre-season. He played just one game, due to an injury he suffered while playing for the Rams in an exhibition game against the Seahawks.[5] He returned to the Rams in 1977, skipped the 1978 season, and finished his career in 1979 with the 49ers.

O. J. Simpson case[edit]

Cowlings and O.J Simpson were teammates at Galileo High School, San Francisco City College, USC, the Buffalo Bills, and the San Francisco 49ers; they eventually became close friends and confidantes.

Cowlings is most famous for his role in Simpson's capture on June 17, 1994, after a low-speed chase by police on Los Angeles freeways, after the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman several days before. Cowlings, who was driving his white 1993 model Ford Bronco, claims that Simpson pointed a gun to his own head, demanding Cowlings drive him to Simpson's Rockingham estate in Brentwood, or Simpson would kill himself. The slow-speed chase was televised on live TV from helicopter cameras, and it was viewed by approximately 95 million people in the U.S. alone. During the chase, Cowlings famously told the police: "My name is AC. You know who I am, God damn it!" The chase ended at Simpson's mansion, where Simpson then surrendered to police.[1][6]

Cowlings was charged with a felony for aiding a fugitive and was released approximately 12 hours after his arrest on $250,000 bail.[7] District Attorney Gil Garcetti eventually determined, however, that Cowlings would not be charged due to a lack of evidence.

During Simpson's criminal trial, Cowlings surprised the media with a press conference held a block from the courthouse. Cowlings retained Beverly Hills public relations firm Edward Lozzi & Associates to conduct the press conference, without revealing the reason or itinerary. Lozzi introduced Cowlings and Cowlings's attorney, Donald Re. Cowlings then announced he had created a 900 phone number for the public to ask him questions — about anything except the murder and trial. Cowlings read a one-minute prepared statement announcing the 900 number, which was simultaneously unveiled visually in the room. Reports that Cowlings realized over a million dollars from this $2-dollars-plus-a-minute 900 number could never be verified.[citation needed] This press conference was the only time Cowlings officially spoke to the media about anything related to the Simpson case.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Cowlings is a member of the 2009 USC Athletic Hall of Fame class along with Junior Seau, Rodney Peete, and John Robinson.[8]


  1. ^ a b Swift (1994)
  2. ^ Marcin (1971), p. 56.
    Ebony (Nov 1974), p. 170.
    Ebony (Nov 1977), pp. 170–172.
  3. ^ de Lama, George (June 21, 1994) "Cowlings, Simpson Inseparable, Even As Teens." Chicago Tribune. (Retrieved 7-1-2014.)
  4. ^ Wolf, Craig (June 19, 1994) "The Simpson Case: The Friend; A Lifelong Loyalty, True to the End." New York Times. (Retrieved 7-1-2014.)
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^ Bugliosi (1997), p. 126.
  7. ^ "O.J. Simpson's Bizarre Saga In Ex-Wife's Murder Ends In Not Guilty Plea". Jet. 1994-07-04. p. 4. Retrieved March 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ 2009 Inductees For USC Athletic Hall Of Fame Inductees Announced