Billy Lothridge

American football player (1942–1996)

American football player
Billy Lothridge
refer to caption
Lothridge with Bobby Dodd in 1962
No. 18, 10, 26, 7
Position:Punter
Safety
Personal information
Born:(1942-01-01)January 1, 1942
Cleveland, Georgia, U.S.
Died:February 23, 1996(1996-02-23) (aged 54)
Pensacola, Florida, U.S.
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:194 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Gainesville
(Gainesville, Georgia)
College:Georgia Tech
NFL draft:1964 / Round: 6 / Pick: 73
AFL draft:1964 / Round: 12 / Pick: 95
Career history
  • Dallas Cowboys (1964)
  • Baltimore Colts (1965)*
  • Los Angeles Rams (1965)
  • Atlanta Falcons (1966–1971)
  • Miami Dolphins (1972)
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Punts:532
Punting yards:21,792
Punting average:41
Longest punt:75
Interceptions:3
Fumble recoveries:2
Player stats at PFR

William Lamar Lothridge (January 1, 1942 — February 23, 1996) was an American football punter and safety who played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Cowboys, the Los Angeles Rams, the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins. He played college football at Georgia Tech.

Early life

Lothridge was a graduate of Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Georgia where he played quarterback. He teamed with Billy Martin both at Gainesville and later in Georgia Tech to form a dominant passing/rushing attack. As a senior, he received All-State and All-Southern honors.

He accepted a football scholarship from Georgia Tech and became a starter as a junior, registering 1,006 passing yards, 6 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 478 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns.

As a senior in 1963, he posted 1,017 passing yards, 10 passing touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 223 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. He ranked fourth in nation in scoring, tenth in punting (40.8 average) and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Roger Staubach.[1]

In 1969, he was inducted into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame. In 1986, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

Lothridge was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round (73rd overall) of the 1964 NFL Draft and by the Oakland Raiders in the 12th round (95th overall) of the 1964 AFL Draft. He signed with the Cowboys to be a punter and placekicker.

As a rookie, even though he tore a ligament in his left knee in training camp, he was named the team's punter and third-team quarterback. His net punting average of 37.9 yards wasn't reached by another Cowboy until the 2006 season (Mat McBriar-38.6 yards). He also tied a franchise record with a 75-yard punt in the fifth game against the New York Giants.

On August 29, 1965, he was traded along with a fourth round draft choice (#54-Rod Sherman) to the Baltimore Colts, in exchange for the rights to future All-Pro Ralph Neely.[2]

Baltimore Colts

Lothridge was sold by the Baltimore Colts to the Los Angeles Rams before the start of the 1965 season.[3]

Los Angeles Rams

After playing in 9 games he was waived on November 17, 1965.[4]

Atlanta Falcons

On November 25, 1965, he signed with the Atlanta Falcons as one of the team's original players.[5] He won the NFL punting title in 1967 with a 43.7 average and repeated the next year with a 42.8 average, while receiving All-Pro honors.[6] In 1968, he was also a starter at safety and had 3 interceptions.[7] He retired before the start of the 1971 season, but was brought back when the team experienced punting problems.[8] He was waived before the start of the 1972 season.[9]

Miami Dolphins

On November 22, 1972, he was signed by the Miami Dolphins to replace an injured Larry Seiple.[10] He punted for the Dolphins for 2 games, but was then placed on the team's taxi squad to make room to activate quarterback Bob Griese, even though Seiple was not quite ready to play (safety Dick Anderson had to serve as the team's punter for one game until Seiple returned).[10] Although he was not active for the last 2 games of the season or for the playoffs, he got a chance to be a part of the Dolphins perfect season.[11]

Personal life

Lothridge died in 1996, after suffering three heart attacks over a four-year period.[12]

See also

  • Biography portal

References

  1. ^ "Lothridge Called Top Versatile Star". Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "Cowboys Trade Lothridge To Baltimore Colts". Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  3. ^ "Billy Lothridge gets a kick out of pro football". Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  4. ^ "Rams Place Lothridge On Waivers". Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  5. ^ "NFL Falcons Sign Billy Lothridge". Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "Lothridge Takes Punting Title". Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  7. ^ "Van Brocklin cites Atlanta's defense; Bears lose Sayers". Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  8. ^ "Bargain Backfield Boosts Falcons". Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  9. ^ "John Mackey, 'Best End in 50 years', Denies Colts' Claims That He Has Retired". Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Schwebel, Mike (December 9, 1972). "Griese activated for Giants' game". Ft. Lauderdale News. p. 4C. Retrieved September 6, 2022 – via newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "Lothridge Has No Regrets About Joining Dolphins". Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "Local gridiron great honored with street sign". Archived from the original on March 11, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2020.

External links

  • Bill Lothridge Georgia Hall of Fame bio Archived February 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  • Lothridge seeks 3rd punting title
  • Billy Lothridge at Find a Grave
  • v
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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets starting quarterbacks
  • Stafford Nash (1892)
  • John Kimball (1893)
  • John E. Smith (1894)
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  • Alfred Monsalvatge (1903)
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  • Ron Vann (1955–1956)
  • Wade Mitchell (1955–1956)
  • Fred Braselton (1957–1959)
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  • Billy Lothridge (1961–1963)
  • Jerry Priestly (1964)
  • Kim King (1965–1967)
  • Larry Good (1968)
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  • Jim Stevens (1973)
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Oakland Raiders 1964 AFL Draft selections
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Dallas Cowboys 1964 NFL draft selections
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Miami Dolphins Super Bowl VII champions
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Atlanta Falcons 1966 inaugural season roster
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†Denotes American Football League (AFL) punting yards leaders from 1960–1969, which are included due to the NFL absorbing AFL statistics and records.