Today in Patriots History An original Patriot and a pro wrestler Happy 81st birthday to Gerhard Schwedes Born April 23, 1938 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany Patriot HB, 1960-61; uniform #44 Pats territorial/bonus pick, 1960 AFL draft/allocation, from Syracuse The AFL's first draft | Pro Football Hall of Fame On November 22, 1959, not long after the American Football League was founded, the first AFL draft occurred. At the time, no front offices or coaching staffs were complete and no more than half of the eight teams even had any scouts or personnel staff. This draft certainly was unlike the NFL draft of today in which millions of people watch on television accompanied by large stacks of draft guides. This draft was held in secret and the merits of each player were determined during the selection process. To begin the draft, each of the eight teams received one territorial/bonus pick to help ensure every team had a regional draw to help the financial success of each franchise. These regional picks did not occur in any order. Instead, they were unanimously agreed upon by the other teams. Following the territorial picks, a consensus was determined as to who the top eight players at each position were – due to the rules of the time, college players were generally listed by their offensive positions only. The names of each position were then put into a box and drawn for by each club. This process continued until each team had 33 selections, or three offensive units. A second round of selections occurred two weeks later on December 2. The process was similar to the first selection meeting but consisted of only 20 rounds. Even though it was a consensus and territorial allocation, Schwedes is considered to be the answer to the trivia question of who was the first player "drafted" in the history of the Patriots franchise. (If you are interested in more detail on that first AFL draft, and the formation of the league prior to the first kickoff, I recommend this interesting, highly informative and very detailed account of what was happening with the eight owners back in 1959): -->> Demystifying the Inaugural American Football League Draft Ger Schwedes was an All-American and captain at Syracuse, playing halfback, safety and quarterback. In 1959 the Orange went undefeated and beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl to win the National Championship. Schwedes played a pivotal role in the game, throwing an 87-yard halfback option pass to RB Ernie Davis to score the game’s first touchdown on the third play of the game, and running for another TD himself in the third quarter. Schwedes finished ninth in voting for the Heisman Trophy. The Pats traded the German-born Schwedes to the Titans before the season began, then re-signed him in mid-season. Injuries derailed his pro career though. In seven games over two seasons with the Patriots, Schwedes rushed for 14 yards on ten carries and had one reception for 21 yards. After a stint in the Army where he rose to the rank of captain, he then moved to upstate New York, owning a small marketing company that specialized in motivational aids. Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame | Gerhard Schwedes His son Scott also went to Syracuse, setting school receiving records that lasted for 31 years. While the younger Schwedes was in high school he played against PatsFan Andy Johnson. Scott Schwedes was drafted in the second round by Miami; he was with the Dolphins from 1987-90 as their punt returner and backup WR. Happy 35th birthday to Quinn Ojinnaka Born April 23, 1984 in Seabrook, Maryland Patriot G/T, 2010; uniform #68 The Pats picked up Ojinnaka near the end of the 2010 training camp from Atlanta, in exchange for a 2011 seventh round pick. He had previously been suspended for one week for an off season arrest, then replaced Marques Murrell on the roster. The Patriots cut Ojinnaka on September 30 to make room for RB Thomas Clayton, and then re-signed Ojinnaka a week later. He appeared in eight regular season games and one playoff games with the Patriots. In seven NFL seasons he played in 62 games with 20 starts. Ojinnaka is one of at least three former Patriots (Brennan Williams, Monty Brown) that turned to pro wrestling after their NFL careers ended. He goes by the name of Moose and is a former two-time Impact Grand Champion. Three years ago in an interview with Sports Illustrated, Ojinnaka had the following to say: “I’d love to give Goodell a spear,” said Ojinnaka, who is known in Ring of Honor as Moose. “Free Tom Brady.” The 6’5”, 300-pound former offensive lineman–who is about to become the biggest free agent in wrestling–is furious about Goodell’s treatment of the Brady suspension. “Goodell lost the battle,” said Moose. “Tom Brady played last year, and he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, so why would the NFL not want to see him play? They’re making a lot of money off the guy, and I really thought we ended this last year.” “Playing under Bill Belichick helped me a lot with how I get ready for a match,” said Moose. “Bill Belichick got you better prepared than any other coach in the NFL, and that’s one of the reasons why I come so prepared to my matches. I watch tape of my opponent, I study my opponent and I go into the match knowing more about him than he knows about himself.” Moose explained that Belichick treated him in the same manner that he treated every other player. “On the field, Belichick was an a--hole to everybody,” said Moose. “At the end of the day, all he cared about was winning.” Happy 77th birthday to Jim Kelly Born April 23, 1942 in McKeesport, PA Pats 2nd round (13th overall) selection of the 1964 AFL draft, from Notre Dame The Notre Dame tight end was also a second round pick by Pittsburgh, and he signed with the Steelers rather than the Pats. Kelly only lasted three seasons in the NFL, totaling 31 receptions for 531 yards and five touchdowns. Other pro football players with New England connections: Shawn Halloran turns 55 (born 4/23/1964) Halloran was born in Gardner and is an alumnus of Oakmont Regional High School in Ashburnham. He then went to Boston College and fared well in the unenviable role of following Doug Flutie as the quarterback at BC. Halloran threw for 5,252 yards and 30 touchdowns and was the starting QB in '85 and '86 with the Eagles. In their 9-3 1986 season his touchdown pass in the final seconds of play gave BC a 27- 24 victory over Georgia in the 1986 Hall of Fame Bowl. In 1987-88 Halloran backed up Neil Lomax with the Rams. He made only three NFL appearances, going 1-1 in his two starts. Since then he has moved around in various ranks as a college football assistant coach. Halloran is now the athletic director at Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas. Tony Elliott, 4/23/1959 - 12/31/2007 (49) Elliott is from Bridgeport, where he graduated from Harding High School. The nose tackle was drafted by New Orleans in the fifth round of the 1982 draft. Elliott played in 85 games with 61 starts for the Saints from 1982 to 1988. He once said that he 'had three loves: football, cocaine and booze'. In 2000 he was shot and paralyzed by an alleged drug dealer. For more on his life, see this 2008 espn column: Tony Elliott's life, death took tragic turns. Scott Lutrus, 31 (4/23/1988) The Brookfield CT native stayed local, moving 65 miles to UConn. The linebacker was originally signed by Jacksonville, and then was part of the Rams practice squad. Indy signed him late in the 2011 season, and he appeared in four games. He spent 2012 on IR and was waived/injured by the Colts in 2013. He later played in the short lived Fall Experimental Football League, until it folded in 2015. Kyle Juszczyk, 28 (4/23/1991) "Juice" was a tight end at Harvard, and drafted in the fourth round (130th overall) by the Ravens in 2013. He has been a fullback since entering the NFL, and made the Pro Bowl three years in a row. As a free agent Juszczyk signed a four year, $21 million contract with the Niners in 2017, making him the highest paid fullback in NFL history.