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5. Leo Nomellini

A two-time All-American and College Football Hall of Famer from the University of Minnesota, Leo “The Lion” Nomellini was the 11thOverall Pick of the NFL Draft in 1950; a selection that paid dividends for over a decade for the San Francisco 49ers.

Nomellini was a two-way Tackle over his career, with the early part shining at Offensive Tackle, where he was a First Team All-Pro in 1951 and 1952.  Nomellini would then be a four-time First Team All-Pro at Defensive Tackle (1953, 1954, 1957 & 1959), making the Italian born gridiron star one of the few could make that claim.   

Whether he was playing at offensive or defense, his freakish strength and speed made him an instant mismatch for whoever opposed him, and there is no question that he was San Francisco's best player of the decade.  Nomellini was also known for his durability, as he never missed a game over his fourteen seasons in the NFL.  

Worth mentioning, Nomellini would wrestle during the off-season and was a multi-time tag team champion and was inducted posthumously in the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa. 

He entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969, and he is also a member of the 1950s All-Decade and 50thAnniversary Team.  In 1971, he was one of the first two players to have his number retired, and he was also a charter member of the 49ers Hall of Fame. 

The Bullet Points

  • Position: Tackle
  • Acquired: Selected in the 1st Round, 11th Overall in the NFL Draft 1/20/50.
  • Departed: Retired after the 1963 Season.
  • Games Played: 174
  • Notable Statistics:

    166 Games Started
    13 Fumble Recoveries
    10 Fumble Recovery Yards
    13.5 Quarterback Sacks*
    1 Punt Return
    20 Punt Returns
    1 Punt Return Touchdowns
    4 Kick Returns
    50 Kick Return Yards
    1 Rushing Attempt
    5 Rushing Yards
    32 Approximate Value**

    *Sacks were unofficially calculated by Pro Football Reference from 1960 to 1981.
    **Approximate Value was not a stat until the 1960 Season.

  • Played For: San Francisco 49ers
  • Major Accolades and Awards:

    First Team All-Pro (1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957 & 1959)
    Second Team All-Pro (1960)
    Pro Bowl (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960 & 1961)

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 November 2021 00:08

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