Linebacker Les Richter was the second player selected overall in the 1952 NFL Draft by the New York Yanks. Two days later, the franchise folded and was sold back to the NFL. Shortly thereafter the assets of the club, including the signing rights to Richter, were granted to the expansion Dallas Texans. The Los Angeles Rams dealt 11 players to the Texans to obtain the All-American from California.
Los Angeles had to wait two years while Richter served in the military. When he returned he signed with the Rams and embarked on a nine-season career that earned him the reputation as one of the best linebackers of his era. He was especially known for his rugged and punishing style of play.
Richter was selected to eight straight Pro Bowls. The only time he did not receive the honor was in his final season in 1962. He was also named a first- or second-team All-NFL each season during a six-year span from 1955 to 1960. Aside from his play at linebacker, Richter also saw some time at center and handled the Rams placekicking duties early in his career. He received much attention in 1955 for his play on defense as well as clutch placekicking that helped the Rams to an 8-3-1 record to win the NFL Western Division crown and a berth in the championship game.
He led the Rams in scoring in 1955 and 1956. In all, he totaled 193 points off of 29 field goals and 106 extra points during his career.
Richter recorded 16 career interceptions which he returned for 206 yards. Twice he had four picks in a season (1957 and 1961) and was the Rams leading interceptor in 1957. Richter battled through various injuries but never missed a game during his 112-game NFL career. In fact, early in the 1961 season he suffered a broken cheekbone during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played through the injury not initially knowing it was broken. He had a protective guard added to his helmet and completed the season even though he broke his cheekbone again five weeks later.
Richter passed away on June 12, 2010 at the age of 79.
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