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Chuck Hughes
Date of birth: March 2, 1943(1943-03-02)
Place of birth: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Date of death: October 24, 1971 (aged 28)
Place of death: Detroit, MI, United States
Career information
Position(s): Wide receiver
College: Texas Western
NFL Draft: 1967 / Round: 4 / Pick: =99
Organizations
 As player:
1967-1969
1970-1971
Philadelphia Eagles
Detroit Lions
Playing stats at NFL.com

Charles Frederick Hughes (March 2, 1943 – October 24, 1971) was an American football wide receiver in the National Football League from 1967 to 1971. He is, to date, the last NFL player to die on the field during a game.

Contents

College career

Hughes played college football at Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso) where he is still listed in the all-time football records; his accomplishments include:

  • The most all-purpose yards in a single game, 401 in 1965 against North Texas State University (he is also second with 360 the same year against Arizona State University
  • The most yards per reception for a single game, 34.9, also in 1965 against North Texas -- this is also an NCAA record
  • The most receptions in a single game, 17, also against Arizona State in 1965
  • Second in all-purpose yards for a season, with 2044 in 1966
  • First in all-purpose yards per game for a season, 204 in 1965
  • Second in all-purpose yards per game for his career with 132
  • Fifth in all-purpose yards all-time with 3,989
  • Second in career receiving touchdowns with 19 and yardage with 2,882

Professional career

He was drafted in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1967 NFL Draft and played three seasons there before joining the Detroit Lions for the 1970 season. Although listed as a wide receiver he saw most action on special teams, being a backup at wide receiver. In his five-year career he caught only 15 passes.

Death

On October 24, 1971 while playing for the Detroit Lions, he suffered a fatal heart attack during the final minutes of a game versus the Chicago Bears at Tiger Stadium in Detroit. He had run a pass route but was not part of the play, an incomplete pass intended for Lions tight end Charlie Sanders, and pitched forward onto the ground without contact. Initially some thought he was faking an injury to stop the clock, but Bears linebacker Dick Butkus frantically signalled for help on the field. It was obvious that he was seriously hurt, and the game was finished in near silence. His teammates were informed of his death before leaving the stadium. The Lions retired his number, 85, in his honor, and annually make an award to the most improved player in his name.

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