Emlen Lewis Tunnell

Emlen Lewis Tunnell

Birth
Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 23 Jul 1975 (aged 51)
Pleasantville, Westchester County, New York, USA
Burial West Conshohocken, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot Section E
Memorial ID 50423245 · View Source
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Hall of Fame Professional Football Player. For 14 years, he played defensive back for the New York Giants (1948 to 1958) and the Green Bay Packers (1959 to 1961) and was the first African-American to play for the New York Giants, as well as the first African-American to be inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame. After completing high school, he attended the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio, where he played football and suffered a severe neck injury. Unable to enlist in the United States Army or Navy during World War II, he was finally accepted by the Coast Guard and served for two years. After his military discharge, he attended the University of Iowa at Iowa City, Iowa, and played quarterback, halfback and on defense during his two years there and led the team in passing in the 1946 season and receiving during the 1947 season. He quit the team before the 1948 season to join the New York Giants professional football team as a walk-on. During his professional football career, he led the National Football League in punt return yards in 1951 and 1952 seasons. He played a then NFL record of 143 consecutive games, was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, and an eight-time All-Pro selection. He was a member of the 1956 and 1961 NFL champion teams (New York Giants and Green Bay Packers respectively). He ended his career with a record 79 interceptions (since surpassed by Paul Krause), which he returned for 1,282 yards and 4 touchdowns, and 16 fumble recoveries, along with another 3,506 return yards and 6 touchdowns on special teams. After his retirement, he then became a scout (1963 to 1965) and assistant coach (1965 until his death) with the New York Giants and was elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1967. He died from a heart attack during a practice session at the age of 50.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Curtis Jackson
  • Added: 29 Mar 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 50423245
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Emlen Lewis Tunnell (29 Mar 1924–23 Jul 1975), Find a Grave Memorial no. 50423245, citing Gulph United Church of Christ Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .