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View Full Version : If you are a Chiefs fan, a Lamar Hunt or Hank Stram fan, or AFL fan, read this post.


ChiefsFanatic
10-26-2005, 08:26 PM
I am currently reading the book, Going Long, Amazon listing (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071418490/104-2326610-5029517?v=glance&n=283155&s=books&v=glance) about the forming of the AFL, and its war with the NFL. It is basically a set of running interviews with the actual people that were involved. It is a very good read.

Anyway, I came across this section, and it really hit home for me as a Chiefs fan, and a huge DT fan. It was a part of Chiefs' history that I did not know. I have transcribed it here for you to read. It is worth it. Please forgive the length.

Bob Halford (Chiefs/Texans, Randy Moss and the Raiderz Publicist): It meant a lot to Lamar to have to leave his hometown, so much so that he wanted to name the Kansas City team the Texans. I think Lamar just threw it out one day, and it was thrown back at him.

The team’s acclimation to the new town became a secondary issue before the Chiefs had played their first regular-season game. After drawing fewer than 10,000 fans to each of the two home exhibition games, the Chiefs were closing the preseason against their former Texas brethren, the Houston Oilers, in Wichita, Kansas. A rookie return man out of Grambling, Stone Johnson, was intent on making a good first impression in his efforts to secure a roster spot.

Abner Haynes (Texans 1960-62, Chiefs 1963, Broncos 1965-66, Dolphins 1967, Jets 1967): He was our quarterback at Lincoln High School in Dallas and on our track team. We were close partners. We walked up Malcolm X Boulevard every day, maybe 20 blocks, to get to Lincoln. There were fights, prostitutes, graveyards. You develop relationships in that walk. Stone hung around the Texans’ practice field when I got there. He was going to join us at North Texas. We were getting the best brothers in the state. We were the only white school “open.” And coach Eddie Robinson had someone drive to Lincoln, put Stone in the car, and took ‘im to Grambling.

Johnson decided not to follow Haynes and attend North Texas State; instead he favored Grambling. While participating in both football and track, he qualified for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He set a world record in the 200 meters at the U.S. trials. He finished fifth but brought home a silver medal as part of the 4 X 100 relay team. In 1962, he was drafted by the Dallas Texans in the 14th round. He had not played much football, but the potential was worth taking a chance on.

Abner Haynes: You could see what Don Klosterman was thinking. If you got Stone the ball, the guy was murder. He was going to make the team. He was going to bring us the dimension that Bob Hayes brought to the Cowboys.

Hank Stram (Texans/Chiefs coach): Our oldest son, Henry, was never very much involved in athletics. He was always into music, played the piano. All the other kids- Stu and Dale- would come to camp and want to see the players. Hanky would go right to where the piano was on campus and play. But Hanky took a liking to Stone and Stone to him. Every time Hanky would come to practice, Stone would take him down and buy him an ice-cream cone.

But Johnson’s pro football career ended before it began, late in the first quarter of Kansas City’s final exhibition game for 1963. While blocking for teammate Frank Jackson on a punt return, he fractured his fifth cervical vertebrae and suffered damage to his spinal cord. He was paralyzed from the chest down and hospitalized, and he died 10 days later.

Frank Jackson (Texans 1961-62, Chiefs 1963-65, Dolphins 1966-67): I was just a few yards away when Stone Johnson speared Don Floyd and broke his neck. Stone was with us as a rookie, as a return guy. They were testing him on special teams. I took the kickoff. Whichever back didn’t get the ball kept the defensive team’s guys off you so you could catch the ball. You took the first person down, which was Floyd.

Bob Halford: Stone was reasonably tall and thin. He was trying to block, and his technique was wrong. His head was too low.

Frank Jackson: I looked just as Stone was spearing him with his head. Hell, Stone weighed about 165 pounds soaking wet. Floyd weighed about 260. He just crumbled. Then Stone was on the field, all stretched out.

Abner Haynes: He was lying on the field, saying, “They got me.” Jim Tyrer, the big tackle, ran up and grabbed him by the arm and said, “C’mon, Stone.” And I think Fred Arbanas said, “No. No. Don’t move him. He’s hurt bad.” The everybody kind of realized that the way he was lying was so unusual.

Merle Harmon (Chiefs/Jets announcer): The night we were in the airport in Wichita, I found Abner just sitting in the hallway sobbing uncontrollably.

Chris Buford (Texans 1960-62, Chiefs 1963-67): Stone was a good kid, just a fun kid. A good friend of Abner’s. That had a tremendous effect on our whole team. Five or six of us went down to Dallas and were pallbearers for Stone. I was one of them, spent several days there with his family and friends. I don’t think Abner was ever quite the same.

Hank Stram: That game in Wichita was the only game Hanky went with me. When Stone got hurt, he cried like a baby. And when he died, Hank came over and grabbed me and hugged me and said, “Dad, I thought football was just a game. How could anybody get killed playing football, playing a game?” Oh, man, he was just out of it completely.

Abner Haynes: Coach Stram called me and told me, “Our boy went home to higher glory.” He was very, very brave about it. He handled it very well. We just cried there together. That’s all you could do.

Chris Buford: It’s a real eye-opener when you have a teammate die. It’s hard to stay focused. It’s not just a “fun” game.

Hank Stram: I spoke at the funeral, and Hank asked me to bring back something. I brought him a rose. To this day, he has it in a prayer book.

milkman
10-26-2005, 08:36 PM
Thanks for the excerpt.

Interesting, and really makes one think how vulnerable the human body is, even those that are in tip-top physical shape.

With Johnson and Mack Lee Hill, Chiefs have had tragedy hit on the field twice.

cdcox
10-26-2005, 09:05 PM
Good read. I'll have to pick that up after I finish America's Game.

ROYC75
10-26-2005, 10:03 PM
Here's a cool old website on the Chiefs .

http://www.conigliofamily.com/TexansChiefs.htm

Skip Towne
10-26-2005, 10:17 PM
Yeah, the way I heard it, Mack Lee Hill died on the operating table after routine knee surgery. Something about the anasthesia. I guess even today 1% of people that undergo surgery die.

chefsos
10-26-2005, 11:38 PM
I had heard some of the Johnson story, but I didn't realize he and Haynes were so close. No wonder they say Abner was never the same after it happened.

Maybe it's just because I follow this team, but it seems to me the Chiefs have had more than their share of tragedy, with Johnson, Hill, Delaney, DT.

MadMax
10-26-2005, 11:52 PM
I had heard some of the Johnson story, but I didn't realize he and Haynes were so close. No wonder they say Abner was never the same after it happened.

Maybe it's just because I follow this team, but it seems to me the Chiefs have had more than their share of tragedy, with Johnson, Hill, Delaney, DT.



AMEN! brotha :(

ChiefsFanatic
10-27-2005, 12:03 AM
I'm telling you guys, this book is really great. The NFL twice offered Lamar an expansion team in Dallas if he would stop pursuing an alternate league.

Lamar had already formed partnerships with other would-be owners, so he turned the NFL down.

I did not know that.

ChiefsFanatic
10-27-2005, 02:13 AM
OK. 1 more tidbit. We once lost a game at Boston because a fan ran onto the field at the last second and deflected a pass in the endzone as time ran out.

Cotton Davidson tried to convince Stram that it happened, but Hank thought he was looney. The next day the game film proved Cotton correct, but Lamar was afraid that any official protest would hurt the new league.

ChiefsFanatic
10-27-2005, 04:28 PM
I was going to post more, but I am trying to cut back.

Chief Henry
10-27-2005, 04:53 PM
Keep posting. I enjoy the info. I had heard of the incident in Boston about a fan doing something on the field...