He scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XIV and was instrumental in causing the NFL to make a major policy change. RIP.
LOS ANGELES — Cullen Bryant, who spent 11 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, was a running back on their 1980 Super Bowl team and fought the NFL’s trading rules to remain in town, has died. He was 58.
Unknown to his family, Bryant had been under a doctor’s care when he died Tuesday at his home in Colorado Springs, Colo., said his sister-in-law, Wanda E. Bryant. She did not supply other details.
Bryant was the Rams’ second-round draft pick in 1973. He played with the team until 1982, was with the Seattle Seahawks in 1983 and 1984 and returned to the Rams for his last pro season in 1987.
In 13 NFL seasons, Bryant scored 23 rushing and receiving touchdowns and ran back kickoffs for three others. He ran for 3,264 yards in 849 carries, and caught 148 passes for 1,176 yards.
He ran for a 1-yard touchdown in the 1980 Super Bowl, which the Rams lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-19.
At 6-foot-1 and 234 pounds, he was the biggest player of the time to regularly return kickoffs.
“When Cullen hits those holes, nobody wants to stick their nose in there,” teammate Jack Youngblood told the Los Angeles Times in 1979. “Those little 180-pound (defensive backs) just jump on his back when he runs by.”
“He was an outstanding person with great character traits,” said Chuck Knox, Bryant’s coach with both the Rams and Seahawks. “When we asked him to do certain things, he’d do them. He never complained about anything. When he got that big body moving, it was something else, and he had muscles on top of muscles.”
Born William Cullen Bryant on May 20, 1951, in Fort Sill, Okla., Bryant attended high school in Colorado Springs and played football at Colorado University, where he received consensus All-American recognition.
In 1975, only two years after going to the Rams, Bryant went to federal court to challenge the right of then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle to order him off the team. The Rams had signed former Detroit Lions receiver Ron Jessie. Under the “Rozelle Rule” on free agents, the team signing a free agent had to compensate the team that lost the player. If the teams couldn’t agree on compensation, the commissioner had the power to award either draft choices or players. He decided Bryant should go to Detroit.
At the behest of Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom, Bryant went to court in Los Angeles. A judge was unsympathetic to the NFL’s position during a hearing, and the league backed off several days later before a ruling could be made.
The Rozelle Rule eventually was modified.
- Everson Walls Donating Kidney to Ron Springs
- Former NFL Defensive lineman Pio Sagapolutele dead at age 39
- Lions Assistant Suspended for Nude, Drunk Driving
- Former NFL TE Dan Ross Dead at 49
- Former NFL Defensive Back Tom Janik dead at 69
- Former Notre Dame and NFL football player Jack Zilly dead at 88
- Former Kansas City Head coach Frank Gansz dead at 70
- Alexander Out With Foot Injury
- Don Meredith in Hall of Fame as Broadcaster
- Texas A&M and Seattle Seahawks Settle 12th Man Dispute
- Eight is Enough- Edmonton beats Chicago 8-4
- Lydia Ko wins New South Wales Open
- The Comeback I- Pittsburgh Penguins beat NY Islanders 5-0
- Seattle Mariners Outfielder Greg Halman stabbed to death at age 24
- Hee Young Park wins CME Titleholders Championship
- Oklahoma State Women’s Basketball Coach Kurt Budke dead at 50
- Costly mistake- Blackhawks waive Rostislav Olesz
- Manager Tony La Russa announces retirement
- Puck Drop- Florida Panthers start the 2011-12 NHL season
- 13-time PGA Tour winner Dave Hill dead at 74
Comments are Closed