|Birth: ||Apr. 18, 1941|
|Death: ||Feb. 2, 2013|
San Diego County
Professional Football Player. For thirteen seasons (1963 to 1975), he played at the guard position in the American and National Football Leagues with the San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins. Born Walter Francis Sweeney, he attended high school in his native Cohasset, Massachusetts and played collegiate football at Syracuse University. While with the Orangemen he displayed versatility as a stable force on both sides of the ball and while an offensive guard, Sweeney provided key blocking which aided Ernie Davis through his Heisman Trophy season of 1961. Additionally, he was a contributor to Syracuse's victory in the Liberty Bowl that year. He was selected by San Diego during the 1st-round of the 1963 AFL Draft and appeared in 181 regular seasons games. He went a remarkable 12 seasons (1963 to 1974) without missing a game as a starting guard. During his rookie season (1963), he experienced a World Championship as San Diego captured the AFL Title and earned Pro-Bowl honors nine consecutive times (1964 to 1972) establishing himself as one of the top offensive lineman of his era. Sadly after his football career ended in 1975, his personal problems began. There was a high price to pay for his durability on the field as he endured roughly 25 knee and hip surgeries throughout his post-football life. Additionally, Sweeney plunged himself into the world of alcohol and drug abuse for which actually began during his career. It is believed he was among one of the earliest professional football players to use performance-enhancing drugs that were provided by his team. He filed a law suit against the NFL claiming his profession led to his dependency of substances, as well as the state of his physical being. Six months prior to death from pancreatic cancer, Sweeney authored the book "Off Guard" (2012) for which recounted his accomplished career and his battle with personal demons. Sweeney was named to the Syracuse All-Century Team and it is the opinion of many that he is worthy of entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in 1981. (bio by: C.S.)
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: C.S.
Record added: Feb 04, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 104645095
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