Tommy McDonald

by Mike Magers


McDonald was born in Roy, NM (Harding County) where he attended school through his freshman year in high school, before moving to Albuquerque and graduating from Highland High School. He then attended Oklahoma University. At OU, he was a Consensus All-American (1955 and 1956) and won the Maxwell Award in 1956 as Best Collegiate Player. Tommy scored touchdowns in 20 of his 21 games in college. He was primarily a running back at Oklahoma under Coach Bud Wilkinson, having the distinction of playing on a college team that went undefeated his entire three years on the varsity squad. Two of those years (1955 and 1956), the Sooners won the National Championship.

In 1956, he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting behind winner Paul Hornung of Notre Dame and Johnny Majors of Tennessee, ahead of such other notable players as Jimmy Brown of Syracuse and John Brodie of Stanford. He also won the MVP award in the North South Shrine Game in Miami.Tommy was a third-round draft pick of the NFL Philadelphia Eagles in 1957, and spent most of his career with Philadelphia.  In the NFL, he was primarily used as a wide receiver, selected for the Pro Bowl six times (1959-1963 and 1966).  Following his time with the Eagles, he played one year with the Dallas Cowboys (1964), two years with the Los Angeles Rams (1965-1966), another year with the Atlanta Falcons (1967) before retiring after his final year (1968) with the Cleveland Browns.

During his years with the Eagles, they won one NFL Championship in 1960, defeating the Green Bay Packers 17-13.  Twice (1958 and 1960), he led the league in receptions for touchdown and once (1960) for receiving yards.  His NFL statistics include appearing in 152 games in 12 seasons, gaining 8410 yards on 495 receptions (17 yards per reception) and scoring 84 touchdowns.  Used on special teams early in his career, he had 72 put returns for 404 yards and 1 TD and 51 kickoff returns for another 1,055 yards.

In 1985, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  In 1988, he was inducted into the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame.  He was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. Tommy was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998, along with such other players as Mike Singletary, Anthony Muñoz, Paul Krause and Dwight Stephenson.

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