American Football Wiki
Vic Washington
Personal Information
Born (1946-03-23)March 23, 1946
Died December 31, 2008(2008-12-31) (aged 62)
Career information
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Victor Arnold Washington (born March 23, 1946 in Plainfield, New Jersey, died December 31, 2008 in Allentown, Pennsylvania) is a former American football running back/safety. After attending the University of Wyoming, he played nine professional seasons, three in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and six in the National Football League (NFL).


Vic Washington first starred with the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders from 1968 to 1970, winners of back-to-back Grey Cup Championships in 1968 & 1969 against the Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, respectively. In the first of the two title matches, Washington received the Most Valuable Player award for his game-winning 80-yard touchdown run from scrimmage, establishing a Grey Cup record that still stands. In 1968 and 1969, he was helped considerably by the potent passing attack led by quarterback Russ Jackson. In those three years, he was considered to be the most dangerous runner from scrimmage in the CFL, so good that at a young age the NFL beckoned.


After signing with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, he rushed for 811 yards with a 4.2 average, was named to his only Pro Bowl and helped to lead the team to the National Football Conference finals in 1971. In yet another 49ers loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs the next season, he returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. He finished his professional football career with the Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills.


Washington was born to Marion Washington, a 16-year-old single mother. He never knew his dad, identified only as J.T. Smith in an obituary. Washington was one of several future professional football players to come from Plainfield High School, and the guidance of head coach Abe Smith. He was a standout running back, cornerback and punt returner for Wyoming, but was expelled from school near the end of his junior year, for an altercation in an intramural basketball game. But he had already shown enough talent to get a contract with Ottawa.

After retirement, Washington's world seemed to collapse. Riddled with chronic injuries, issues with painkillers and a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, his marriage ended, and he experienced a bankruptcy, living on welfare and a brief period of homelessness. He fought a series of battles with the trustees of the NFL disability plan, and was never able to receive a pension exceeding $750 per month. He was diagnosed with arthritis and degenerative joint disease, and was in a hospice when he died on December 31, 2008.

In 2005 Washington was inducted into the University of Wyoming Hall of Fame.

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