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Sports Then and Now

George Musso: From Longshot to Hall of Famer

Posted on August 05, 2017 by Dean Hybl
George Musso

George Musso

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month went from small college long shot to Pro Football Hall of Famer.

When George Musso finished his college career at Millikin College in 1933, Chicago Bears coach George Halas offered the 6-foot-2, 265 pound lineman a tryout and eventually a $90 per game contract, but had serious doubts whether he could make the transition from small college football to the NFL.

It took a year for Musso to adjust, but by 1935 he was an All-Pro tackle. Two years later, he moved to guard and again earned first team All-NFL honors. He became the first player in NFL history to earn first team All-League honors at two different positions.

During his 12 seasons with the Bears, Musso was a durable 60-minute man playing either tackle or guard on the offensive line and then switching sides and playing middle guard (nose tackle) on defense.

Musso served as team captain for the Bears for nine years and helped lead the squad to seven trips to the NFL Championship Game. They claimed the league title in 1933, 1940, 1941 and 1943.

It is highly likely that Musso is the only NFL player to ever play against two future Presidents of the United States.

While at Millikin, Musso lined up against Ronald Reagan, who at 175-pounds played guard for Eureka College and was roughly 80 pounds lighter than Musso.

Later, as a member of the Bears, Musso lined up against Gerald Ford, an All-American center from Michigan, during the 1935 College All-Star Game.

Musso retired following the 1944 season and 38 years later was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He started in the restaurant business after his football career and later served as the sheriff of Madison County, Illinois. Musso passed away in 2000.



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