The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Willie Lanier in the second round of the 1967 NFL Draft. Coming out of Morgan State, Lanier was expected to contribute quickly to Hank Stram's team. As a second round pick, the Chiefs obviously had high expectations for Willie Lanier.
Turns out Hank Stram and his scouts were right on. Willie Lanier stepped off the field in 1977 as one of the most decorated Kansas City Chiefs players of all time.
Lanier's rookie season was cut short when he injured his leg and was forced to sit the final four games of the season. However, that short amount of time was a historic moment - Willie Lanier was the first black middle linebacker in pro football history.
Willie's career really got going in 1968, when he grabbed four interceptions and had one defensive touchdown to go with it. 1968 was the first of his 8 Pro Bowl seasons.
Lanier would continue to deliver that same, steady production throughout his career. He played in 149 games for the Chiefs, racking up 27 interceptions in that time.
He would be named an All-Pro 8 times, win the NFL Man of the Year Award in 1972 and eventually was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
The Chiefs retired his No. 63 after his retirement in 1977.
Admittedly, I was not alive to see Willie Lanier play. So those of you that did, please do him some justice in the comments.
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