Monday, September 5, 2011

#16 - AL COWLINGS, DE, Bills

What must it be like to live in the shadow of a great player who went so wrong?

Al Cowlings was a very good college player, an All-American, followed O.J. Simpson from his neighborhood to USC and then the Bills. He wasn't a bad NFL player, never an All-Pro, but not bad. After this card came out, his first with Topps, he was dealt to the Oilers for a draft pick. He would have his second and last card as an Oiler in 1974. But that wouldn't be the end of his career.

Cowlings, then a linebacker, was dealt to the Colts in July of 1975 according to one newspaper article here. I could not find anything else to back that up, I do know that he signed with the Rams in Nov. of 1975. That article said he was cut by the Oilers in the spring...oh well...mysteries...

Some newspaper pundits called him "gimpy-legged" so one could assume his knees were failing. He was picked up by the Rams because they had lost a couple players to injury, and would be cut in Sept. of 1976.

Just in time for the fledgling Seahawks to snap him up! He lasted one game. waived by Sept. 30. (The same day the Seahawks signed Cowlings, they traded Ahmad Rashad to the Vikings for draft picks. Not a great day for Seahawk history.)

Cowlings ended up back on the Rams for 1977, and was cut again before the 1978 season. The only article I could find mentioning Cowlings and the Rams was one mentioning his part as O.J. Simpson's stand-in in the movie "Capricorn One."

When O.J. Simpson decided to give a second year a go with his home town 49ers in 1979, Al Cowlings was back in the league after a year away, and with his old friend. Well, kind of. He spent the first few weeks of the season on injured reserve after knee surgery. Coming back, he got into a fight with teammate Ron Singleton, which then-49er Tony Dungy talked about in this article. That's about all I could find about Cowlings on the Niners, and he and Simpson retired together. 

And now all Cowlings is remembered for is the drive he took with Simpson that everyone watched.

Cartoon! No Big Football Guy, but the kick is good! And the record for Lou Groza still stands!

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