AFL Star Abner Haynes is a great roll model.


I have had the great pleasure and honor of having Abner Haynes on News, Notes & Rumors many times over the 5 years that the show has been on. Abner brings a combination of honesty and great sense of history to NNR. But there are a number of things that most fans that did not have the pleasure of watching him play don’t know. Being older than rock myself, I fondly remember watching Abner play.

He signed with the Dallas Texans of the AFL in 1960 having been drafted by the AFL, NFL and CFL. As a black man from a small school, he faced racism and the doubt he could play at the professional level. But from day 1 he proved he was up to the challenge. In 1960 he gained over 800 yards rushing and caught 55 passes for 576 yards. Most important he scored 12 touchdowns as a rookie. He was not only the rookie of the year but also won the player of the year in the AFL after the 1960 season.

But he proved his metal when the AFL scheduled their All Star game in New Orleans. Abner led the revolt of the minority players that prevented the league from going to a city that flaunted racism with misplaced pride. He and his fellow players forced the league to move the game to a more racially friendly location.

Abner is not only a former football star, he is a pillar in the community. He heads up the Heroes of Football organization (@footballsheroes on Twitter) that is dedicated to bringing justice to the former players and focus to the youth interested in the game. He has spent much of his time working with kids to give them a love of learning as well as football that will help them for their entire lives.

I consider myself very fortunate to have Abner as a friend. He is currently fighting a very serious disease with courage and a sense of humor that have been hallmarks of his life. He deserves our prayers for a complete recovery.

I am proud to call Abner Haynes my friend. The world and the US are a much better places having had men like Abner among their citizens.

That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.

NOTE: Check out the live News, Notes and Rumors show on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6 PM Eastern on or On Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports, former NFL scout Kelron Sykes and I talk football with just a little Indians and Cavs thrown in. The archive is available on Please join us.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on .

He also edits .

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.

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