October 17, 1926 |
Los Angeles, California
|NFL Draft:||1951 / Round: 10 / Pick: 118|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Paul Thomas Salata (born October 17, 1926) is a former professional American football wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) and the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). He was born to a Serbian-born father and second generation Serbian-American mother. After his college football days at USC, Salata played for the AAFC/NFL's San Francisco 49ers (1949–1950) and the AAFC's Baltimore Colts (1950). After the Colts franchise folded in 1950 he was declared draft-eligible and was subsequently drafted in the tenth round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He scored the 49ers final touchdown in the All-American Football Conference, as well as the team's first TD in NFL. He also played three final seasons in Canada; 1952 with the Calgary Stampeders, where he was an all-star, and 1953 with the Ottawa Rough Riders.
In later years, Salata became known for creating the Mr. Irrelevant Award in the NFL Draft, awarded annually to the last overall pick in the year's draft. After retiring from football, he joined his family's Southern California construction business. He has also acted in a number of Hollywood movies. He played Tony Minelli in Angels in the Outfield (1951) and appeared, uncredited, in the 1953 film Stalag 17 as a prisoner.
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