I have often said to my friends one of the hardest positions to play in sports is center in football. You not only have to be bent over with someone behind you who you have to protect but you have someone standing right in front of you ready to take your head off to get to the person behind you…the Quarterback. By most account one of the very best at this position is former Pittsburgh Steeler …Mike Webster.
Webster was drafted in the 5th round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Serving as a backup at center and guard for two years while being mentored by veteran center Ray Mansfield, Webster became the team’s starting center in 1976, where he would remain for 150 straight games until 1986. These years included four Super Bowl wins by the Steelers, and Webster and Terry Bradshaw are consequently one of the most well-known center–quarterback pairs in history.
An avid weightlifter, Webster was known for playing with bare arms to keep opponents from grabbing his sleeves.
Webster is also perhaps the best-known of a long line of All-Pro centers for the Steelers. From 1964 to 2006, just four men started at that position: Mansfield, Webster, Dermontti Dawson, and Jeff Hartings. In his last year in Pittsburgh, Webster returned the favor by mentoring the then-rookie Dawson in the same manner Mansfield mentored Webster earlier in his career.
On a sad note Mike Webster died at age 50 of a heart attack.
Webster was the first former NFL player diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Since his death, he has become a symbol for head injuries in the NFL and the ongoing debate over player safety. His doctors were of the opinion that multiple concussions during his career damaged his frontal lobe, which caused cognitive dysfunction.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday spotlights…Mike Webster.
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|