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Tom Skladany ca. 1974
|Date of birth||June 29, 1955|
|Place of birth||Bethel Park, Pennsylvania|
|NFL draft||1977 / Round: 2 / Pick: 46
(By the Cleveland Browns)
|Career highlights and awards|
Thomas Edward Skladany (born June 29, 1955) was an American football punter who is widely considered to be, along with Ray Guy, one of the two greatest punters in college football history. Skladany later played in the NFL from 1978-1983. Skladany, the only 3-time first team All American punter in college history, made Big 10 history in 1972 when he became the first specialty player given a football scholarship in Big 10 football history. Skladany was considered by Street & Smith's and Parade to be the consenus number one high school kicker/punter in America in 1972. Skladany turned down scholarship offers from Michigan, Penn State and hometown Pittsburgh to sign with Woody Hayes and Ohio State. Skladany was a three-time All-American at The Ohio State University—(1974, 1975, 1976).
Skladany, the Cleveland Browns #2 pick in 1977, made professional sports history when he held out the entire season in a contract dispute, becoming the first-ever NFL draft pick to hold out a full season. His rights were traded to the Detroit Lions after the 1977 season. Skladany was named first team All-Pro after the 1978 and 1981 seasons with Detroit, leading the NFL in punting average both years. He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 1981 season. A back injury ended Skladany's career prematurely in 1983 while punting for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Skladany comes from a football family of note. Tom's uncle Leo Skladany blocked an attempted field goal as time expired in the 1949 NFL championship game to propel the Philadelphia Eagles to the 1949 NFL title over the Los Angeles Rams. Another uncle, Joe "Mugs" Skladany is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1941 before enlisting in WWII. Tom's father Ed Skladany turned down the Chicago Bears to sign with the Cincinnati Reds in 1945. Tom's brother Joe Skladany was an All-American linebacker at LaFayette University in 1981, and played for Arizona Wranglers of the USFL in 1982. After retiring from the NFL in 1983, Tom opened an American Speedy Printing Center in suburban Columbus, Ohio, and raised 4 daughters, all of whom played Division I collegiate soccer. His daughter, Karly, married 'N Sync singer Chris Kirkpatrick in 2013, and his youngest daughter, Camryn, has excelled both athletically and professionally. Camryn is currently a leading executive in the professional staffing and recruitment industry. Tom Skladany is a past President of the NFL Alumni Association of Ohio (1989-2013).
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