Tom Watkins (American football)
|No. 22, 23|
|Date of birth:||October 23, 1937|
|Place of birth:||West Memphis, Arkansas|
|Date of death:||October 29, 2011(aged 74)|
|Place of death:||Detroit, Michigan|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||195 lb (88 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||1960 / Round: 15 / Pick: 177|
|AFL draft:||1961 / Round: 8 / Pick: 57|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Tom Watkins (October 23, 1937 – October 29, 2011) was an American football running back in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 15th round of the 1960 NFL Draft. He played college football at Iowa State.
According to George Plimpton's best-selling book "Paper Lion" Watkins, graduated from Iowa State University in 1961, was one of the best running backs in Cyclone history. A member of the famed 1959 "Dirty Thirty" team, Watkins ranked second in the nation in rushing that season and earned All-America honors the following year in 1960. He played seven seasons in the NFL, leading the league in punt return yardage as a Lion in 1963 and 1964. He was inducted into ISU's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.
Tom lived the last 30+ years of his life living in Detroit, Michigan where he was a philanthropist and mentor for many youth in the Metro Detroit area.
Tom Watkins was drafted by the Cleveland Browns of the NFL in 1959. Watkins was traded to the Detroit Lions three years later. With the Lions, Watkins made his impact as a return specialist. In a game against the 49ers in 1963, Watkins returned a punt for 90 yards, setting a team record that would remain unbroken until Desmond Howard returned one for 95 yards in a 2000 game against the New Orleans Saints.
Watkins played in just one game for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1968, but did not record a stat.
After his playing career was over, Watkins lived in Detroit, becoming the head coach of Detroit Chadsey High School's football team. He retired after 35 years as head coach in 2006.
- Former Lions star Tommy Watkins dies
- Tom Watkins - Hall of Fame Class of 2002