Tom Franckhauser

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Tom Franckhauser
No. 81, 32, 40
Position: Cornerback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1937-05-26)May 26, 1937
Place of birth: Steubenville, Ohio
Date of death: April 17, 1997(1997-04-17) (aged 59)
Place of death: Houston, Texas
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school: Catholic Central (OH).
College: Purdue
NFL Draft: 1959 / Round: 3 / Pick: 33
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 58
Interceptions: 13
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Thomas Anthony Franckhauser (May 26, 1937 – April 17, 1997) was an American football cornerback who played in the National Football League for the Los Angeles Rams, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Minnesota Vikings. He played college football at Purdue University.

Early years[edit]

Known as "Knute", Franckhauser was born in Steubenville, Ohio, and played high school football there at Catholic Central High School.

He accepted a scholarship from Purdue University, where he became a three-year starter at offensive end. In 1957, he helped his team upset Michigan State University, which was ranked number one in the nation at the time.[1] As a senior, he was named the team's MVP.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Los Angeles Rams[edit]

Franckhauser was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the third round (33rd overall) of the 1959 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he focused on playing at cornerback and had three interceptions.

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960 NFL Expansion Draft. He became the first player in Dallas Cowboys history to carry the football during a regular season game as he returned the opening kickoff in their inaugural regular season game.[3] He also became the first starter at left cornerback in franchise history and tied with Don Bishop, for the team lead in interceptions (3).

In 1961, he was passed on the depth chart by Warren Livingston. He was activated on November 7 and played in only 6 games (4 starts), after Livingston was placed on the injured reserve list.[4] On December 31, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for punter Sam Baker.[5]

Cleveland Browns[edit]

In September 1962, he was traded along with offensive tackle Errol Linden, offensive end Charley Ferguson and placekicker Fred Cox, to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a sixth round selection (#72-Ernie Borghetti).

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

In 1962, he was one of the key players in the Minnesota Vikings defense, finishing the year with 4 interceptions.[6] In 1964, he suffered a near fatal brain injury while tackling rookie Bill McWatters in a training camp scrimmage.[7] He would be lost for the season and forced into early retirement.

Personal life[edit]

On April 17, 1997, he died of a heart attack.[8] His first cousin was Danny Abramowicz, who played college football at Xavier University and professionally as an original New Orleans Saint.

His grandson, Walker, currently plays for Major League Soccer side FC Dallas.[9]


External links[edit]