A spring in my step

 

Larry Willingham and Warren Capone on the move vs. the Detroit Wheels

Larry Willingham and Warren Capone on the move vs. the Detroit Wheels

Spring has finally, it seems, arrived and there seems to be a spring in everyone’s steps, even mine. I’m reminded of former Americans & Vulcans Safety Larry Willingham. Even in retirement, he always seemed to have a spring in his step every time we visited.

Larry Willingham was a consensus All-American at Auburn in 1970. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL and was enjoying a fine career in the NFL when a neck injury forced him to sit out the 1973 season. Willingham was cleared for play in 1974 and he chose to sign with the hometown Birmingham Americans. He was the leader of the secondary on both ’74 and ’75, helping the development of younger players while playing standout football as well. His aggressive play as well as cover abilities made him one of the top safeties in the WFL.

One of the many stories that Larry relayed to me was when the Americans played against the Florida Blazers. Larry went to tackle Blazers WR Hubie Bryant and the collision resulted in Larry’s facemask being bent to the point that it had to be replaced. Larry was a tough defensive back, but he tipped his hat to Bryant’s toughness.

Americans & Vulcans fans tipped their hats to Larry many times during the 1974 & 1975 seasons, as Willingham was a team leader and fan favorite.

Larry & Greg at Alabama Sports Hall of Fame reception, 2010

Larry & Greg at Alabama Sports Hall of Fame reception, 2010

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

86,215 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>