Colin Ridgway

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Colin Ridgway
No. 88
Position: Punter
Personal information
Date of birth: (1937-02-19)February 19, 1937
Place of birth: Melbourne, Australia
Date of death: 13 May 1993(1993-05-13) (aged 56)
Place of death: University Park, Texas
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 211 lb (96 kg)
Career information
College: Lamar
Undrafted: 1965
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 3
Punts: 13
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Colin Edwin Ridgway (February 19, 1937 – May 13, 1993) was an American football punter distinguished as being the first Australian to play in the National Football League. He also competed in the high jump at the 1956 Summer Olympics.

Early years[edit]

Ridgway began his sporting career playing Australian rules football. He reached the VFL reserves level, playing for the Carlton Football Club in the 1960s.

He was a high jumper who competed at the 1956 Olympic Games (where he was the youngest high jumper) and the 1958 Commonwealth Games for Australia.[1][2] He had also competed in the Australian Open Track and Field Championships from 1955/56 to 1959/60.[3] Ridgway failed to make the 1960 Australian Olympic team and so accepted an offer of a track and field scholarship to Lamar Tech (now Lamar University). In 1961, he became the first Commonwealth athlete to clear 7 foot in the high jump.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Even though he never played an official American football game,[5] he was discovered by the Dallas Cowboys and signed as an undrafted free agent to their 1965 team. During the preseason, he played a key role in the beating of the Green Bay Packers.[6] He started the year on the taxi squad, before being promoted to the regular roster on November 3.[7] He participated in a total of three games as a punter, making him the first Australian to play in the NFL.

It turned out that the running drop-kicks that were commonly used at that time in Aussie Rules did not translate well into the American game. He was waived on August 24, 1966, and at the request of the Cowboys, he accepted to play with the Savannah, Georgia team of the North American Football League, in order to gain more experience.[8]

Death[edit]

Colin Ridgway was murdered at his University Park, Texas home in 1993. Although Kenneth Bicking Jr. was arrested as a probable suspect in 1996, the case still remains unresolved to date.[9]

A man publicly suspected by authorities as a killer-for-hire in Ridgway's murder was convicted Sept. 4, 2014, in Florida of a separate violent crime that happened the year before the murder. Kenneth Alfred Bicking III was found guilty of armed sexual battery and kidnapping with a weapon, according to the Florida State Attorney's office. The maximum sentence is life in prison. Prosecutors said Bicking entered the victim's home in April 1992 without her permission, showed a gun, tied her up and put tape over her eyes and mouth before sexually assaulting her. Bicking was charged after new DNA technology was used in a follow-up investigation in 2011. Police in Dallas had theorized that Bicking had been hired by his father and Ridgway's widow to carry out the 1993 killing.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Ridgway stayed in Dallas after his football career and became a successful businessman.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Misses Games-Will Retire". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Nine Victorians Named Among 30 Athletes for Empire Games Team". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  3. ^ "A Casual Champion". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Texas Contributes Second Seven-Foot High Jumper". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Seven-Foot Leaper Off the Grid Team". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Vince Doesn't Believe in Specialists". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Landry to Stick with Meredith". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Cowboys Release Manatee's Pettee". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Suspect in former Dallas Cowboy's death arrested on Jacksonville rape charges; other ties surround suspect". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Man found dead in apartment complex pond". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 

External links[edit]