American Football Association – Hidden Gemz Football League
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America's Trailblazing Middle Linebacker: The Story of NFL Hall of Famer Willie Lanier

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America's Trailblazing Middle Linebacker: The Story of NFL Hall of Famer Willie Lanier Hardcover ? by Joe Zagorski (Author)

Willie Lanier was the first African-American middle linebacker in pro football history, playing for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1967-1977 in an era when discrimination against black athletes was still very much the norm. Lanier gave football fans a new mold of athlete, comprised of equal amounts intelligence, creativity, individualism, and collaboration.

America's Trailblazing Middle Linebacker: The Story of NFL Hall of Famer Willie Lanier explores the life and times of this groundbreaking football star. A walk-on at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, Lanier established himself as a force on the field. Drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1967, Lanier fought his way to the starting middle linebacker position and became a Super Bowl champion, an eight time All-Pro, and the NFL?s Man of the Year in 1972. After retiring from football, Lanier went to work in the business world and became the CEO of a major US company. This book delves into Lanier?s college years, his NFL exploits, and his many successes off the gridiron, revealing a man who, through hard work and determination, made the most of every opportunity that came his way.

On and off the football field, Lanier showed America a glimpse of the future, when fairness, opportunity, and racial integrity could be the reality for everyone. An inspiration for athletes and fans everywhere, Lanier?s story is that of a man who loved challenges, and faced every one of them with an unmatched drive to excel and succeed. Lanier was, and still is, a trailblazer.

Item Special Note

Editorial Reviews
Willie Lanier is one of the greatest players in pro football history. He is also a great man. He applied the lessons learned from the game?commitment, integrity, courage, respect, and excellence?to his very successful life after football. (David Baker, President and CEO, Pro Football Hall of Fame)

Willie Lanier was the consummate teammate. He was as agile and as tough of a middle linebacker that has ever played the game. His agility and quickness were complimented by his intuitiveness. He just had a natural knack for the game. And he was a tremendous force on the field. Author Joe Zagorski is an experienced sports writer who has written this book about America's first African-American player starting at middle linebacker in professional football. (Johnny Robinson, safety, Kansas City Chiefs, 1960-1972, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame)