By Chris Willis, NFL Films
“He was as good a tackle as I’ve ever seen. Oh, how Healey loved to come downfield under a punt! He was an absolutely vicious football player,” recalled Red Grange, former Bears teammate.On this date (Dec. 28th) in 1894 Ed Healey was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. The six-foot, 210 pound linemen attended Dartmouth and then played eight years in the NFL for two teams- the Rock Island Independents (1920-1922) and the Chicago Bears (1923-1927). While playing for Rock Island, Healey made such a strong impression playing in a game against the Chicago Bears, that Bears owner and starting end George Halas, paid one hundred dollars to buy his services.
Healey was highly regarded as one of the best linemen in the early days of the NFL. Routinely making All-Pro at tackle, he was selected to the 1920’s All-Decade Team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964.
Although Healey does not have a book written about him he is featured in one chapter of Myron Cope’s fantastic oral history book of early pro football titled “The Game That Was,” published in 1970 (The World Publishing Company).
The Game That Was
|The Game That Was, coffee table version, published in 1974|
A very entertaining and insightful chapter, Ed Healey is a rousing story-teller for Cope.
22 pages in length Healey talks about a variety of subjects, such as growing up on his family farm in Springfield; playing football and attending school at Dartmouth; how George Halas bought him from Rock Island; playing with the great Red Grange and his manager C.C. Pyle; and retiring from the NFL after getting married in 1927.
|Ed Healey chapter in The Game That Was|
One of the stories in The Gane That Was has Healey telling the story of negotiating his salary with Bears co-owners George Halas and Dutch Sternaman:
“But I went to Chicago and talked to Halas and Sternaman in their ‘private’ office, which was the lobby of the Planters Hotel. They offered to pay me seventy-five dollars a game. I said, ‘I wouldn’t sit on your bench for seventy-five dollars a game.’ So after a discussion of remuneration which lasted about two hours, they agreed, and rightfully so, to pay me a hundred bucks a game. “
Celebrate Healey's birthday by reading the chapter of him in The Game That Was.