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Did You Know?

Retro Columns

DID YOU KNOW? (first posted OCTOBER, 2009)
Posted on: 10-20-2009

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The 1950s glory days of the Detroit
Lions are remembered for three NFL
World Championships and the leadership
of gunslinging QBack Bobby Layne.
However, the offensive escapades
of Layne and RBack Doak Walker would
not have reached Hall Of Fame status
without the help of a fellow Texan who
paved the way with his crunching blocks.
DID YOU KNOW Lions offensive guard
Harley Sewell joined Layne and Walker
as a multi-time Pro Bowl selection?
A first round (13th overall) draft
choice by Detroit in 1953, Sewell joined
the Lions in time for the second of the team's back-to-back NFL titles. The
former Texas Longhorn earned another NFL C'ship with Detroit in 1957. The
reputation Sewell built as a physical, pulling left guard who had the dirtiest
jersey of any player on the field earned him three consecutive Pro Bowl
selections with Detroit following the 1957--59 seasons.
After paving the way for Walker and pass protecting for Layne or Tobin Rote
on Detroit's title teams, Sewell blocked for QBacks Earl Morral, Jim Ninowski and Milt
Plum into the early 1960s.
Sewell's 6-1, 230-lb frame also opened big enough holes on sweeps, inside traps
and counter plays for RBack Nick Pietrosante to post consecutive team record
rushing seasons in 1960-61. In the era before 1,000-yard rushers, Pietrosante followed
Sewell to seasons of 872-yards in 1960 and 841-yards in 1961, the top two totals in team
history prior to the NFL-AFL merger. Pietrosante's eight rushing touchdowns behind
Sewell tied the then-Lions club record for a single season (set by Dutch Clark in Detroit'
first season of 1934) and Pietrosante did it in the last year of the NFL's twelve game
regular season schedule.
Sewell's final of 10 years with the Lions in 1962 saw Sewell given his fourth Pro Bowl
nod. That year also saw Detroit win its third consecutive "Runner-Up Bowl" which matched
the second place teams of the NFL Eastern and Western Conferences. The Lions have won
just one post-season game since.
A special teams standout, Sewell was credited with 85% of Detroit's kickoff team
tackles one year.
Sewell concluded his playing career with one Los Angeles Rams season in 1963.
While Sewell didn't join Layne and Walker in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was
inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.



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