Darryl Stingley: Wikis


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Darryl Stingley
Wide Receiver
Jersey #(s)
Born September 18, 1951(1951-09-18)
Chicago, Illinois
Died April 5, 2007 (aged 55)
Chicago, Illinois
Career information
Year(s) 19731977
NFL Draft 1973 / Round: 1 / Pick: 19
College Purdue
Professional teams
Career stats
Receptions 110
Receiving Yards 1,883
Touchdowns 14
Stats at NFL.com
Career highlights and awards
  • No notable achievements

Darryl Floyd Stingley (September 18, 1951 - April 5, 2007) was an American professional football wide receiver whose career was cut short by injury. He played his entire career with the New England Patriots of the National Football League. He died from heart disease and pneumonia complicated by quadriplegia.[1]


Early life

Stingley was born to mother Hilda M. Stingley and raised on Chicago's West Side. He was a standout running back at John Marshall High School.[2] He was offered and accepted a football scholarship[3] to Purdue University, where he was converted into a wide receiver. He was a first-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in 1973,[2] along with John Hannah of the University of Alabama and Sam Cunningham of the University of Southern California.

Professional career

Stingley had 110 receptions for 1,883 yards and 14 touchdowns in 60 regular season games for the New England Patriots. He also had 28 carries for 244 yards and two touchdowns, 19 punt returns for 136 yards and eight kickoff returns for 187 yards. He had over 500 combined yards rushing, receiving and returning both punt and kickoffs in 1973 and 1975. He finished his career with 2,450 combined yards rushing, receiving and returning both punts and kickoffs. He is also the only wide receiver to rush for two touchdowns in his career. He ran for a 23-yard touchdown in the Patriots 42-3 win over the Baltimore Colts on October 6, 1974 and a 34-yard touchdown in their 21-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on September 18, 1977. He is one of only three Patriot players who has caught a touchdown pass on his birthday and is the only wide receiver to run for a touchdown and have a touchdown reception on his birthday. He ran for a 34-yard touchdown and caught a 21-yard touchdown pass in the Patriots 21-17 win over the Chiefs (on his 26th birthday) September 18, 1977.



On August 12, 1978, in a pre-season game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum, Stingley was hit by the Raiders' defensive back Jack Tatum. As Stingley leapt to make a catch, Tatum used his forearm in a head-on collision that knocked Stingley unconscious. The hit compressed Stingley's spinal cord, breaking his fourth and fifth vertebrae. He eventually regained limited movement in his right arm, but spent the rest of his life as a quadriplegic.[4]. The injury came just after Stingley had finished negotiating a contract extension that would have made him one of the highest paid receivers in the NFL. The new contract was to be announced when the Patriots returned from the West Coast. Instead, it was never signed.[5]

Although controversial, the hit was not a violation of NFL rules at the time. No penalty was called on the play.[6]

The incident became a symbol of violence in football. Stingley reportedly described it as a "freak accident".[7] Because Stingley was a young player at the height of his career, his horrific injuries attracted significant public attention. Partly in response to Stingley's injuries, the NFL changed its rules and conventions to curtail aggressive plays.[8] Stingley told the Chicago Tribune that he approved of more restrictive officiating, saying "It has opened the game up to allow receivers to get downfield. And it has made the game more exciting."[9]

Tatum's coach, John Madden, and many of his teammates extended their sympathies to Stingley.[2] Madden's post-game rush to the hospital was the beginning of a close friendship.[10] Gene Upshaw, a Raiders' offensive guard, also befriended Stingley, and was later instrumental in securing benefits for disabled players through the NFL Players' Association.[2]

Post-football activities

Stingley and Tatum never reconciled.[11][12] Tatum contacted Stingley while writing his own autobiography and HBO invited both men to appear on the 25th anniversary of the accident. Stingley refused after he learned of the title of Tatum's book: Final Confessions of NFL Assassin Jack Tatum.[1] Stingley believed Tatum's efforts to contact him were nothing more than profit-motivated publicity stunts.[13]

Stingley later served as executive director of player personnel for the Patriots.[3] In 1983, Stingley co-authored a memoir, Happy to Be Alive, with Mark Mulvoy.[14] In 1993, he started a non-profit organization to help troubled youths in west Chicago[2] Stingley raised three sons, Darryl Jr, John S.,[2] including Derek Stingley, who played defensive back for the Albany Firebirds in the Arena Football League[2]


On April 5, 2007, Stingley died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago after being discovered unresponsive in his home. His death was attributed to heart disease and pneumonia complicated by quadriplegia.[1] The Cook County Medical Examiner listed Stingley's cause of death as an accident.


  1. ^ a b c Kreidler, Mark (2007-04-05). "Mourning Stingley, but the game goes on". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=kreidler_mark&id=2827276. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Associated Press (2007-04-06). "Darryl Stingley". Boston Herald. http://news.bostonherald.com/obituaries/view.bg?articleid=193182&format=&page=2. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  3. ^ a b Sophia Tureen (2007-04-06). "Darryl Stingley dies at 55". Baltimore Sun. http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/football/bal-stingley0405,0,2401975.story?track=rss. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  4. ^ Larry Schwartz (1978-08-12). "Stingley paralyzed after being clocked by Tatum". ESPN Classic. http://espn-i.starwave.com/classic/s/moment010812-stingley-paralyzed.html. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  
  5. ^ Ron Borges (2003-08-12). "The Healer: No Sting of Bitterness". Boston Globe. http://www.thirdside.org/stories_26.cfm. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  
  6. ^ "NFL rules and fact no penalty was called on play, second to last Paragraph". 2007-05-04. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17963266/.  
  7. ^ Ron Pollack. "The Amazing Courage of Derek Stingley". Pro Football Weekly. http://archive.profootballweekly.com/content/archives/features_1998/pollack_080399.asp. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  
  8. ^ Gorner, Jeremy (2007-04-05). "Paralyzed NFL player Darryl Stingley dead at 55". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-ex-stingley6apr06,0,2414768.story?coll=la-home-headlines. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  9. ^ Jeremy Gorner (2007-04-05). "Darryl Stingley Dead at 55". Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-070405stingley,1,4992552.story?coll=chi-news-hed. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  
  10. ^ New England Patriots, National Football League - CBSSports.com<
  11. ^ AP (2007-04-05). "Former NFL player Stingley dies at 55". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2007-04-05-stingley-obit_N.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  
  12. ^ Jason Cole (2007-04-06). "Sorrow not guilt". Yahoo! Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=jc-tatum040607&prov=yhoo&type=lgns. Retrieved 2007-04-06.  
  13. ^ "Ex-Patriots WR Stingley dies at 55". ESPN.com. 2007-04-05. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2826562. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  
  14. ^ "Darryl Stingley: Happy to Be Alive (Hardcover)". April 2007. http://www.amazon.com/Darryl-Stingley-Happy-Be-Alive/dp/0825301572.  

External links


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