At # 50, Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane Hall of Fame path had unlikely origins – The Athletic



Welcome to the NFL 100, The Athletic’s effort to identify the top 100 players in football history. Every day until the start of the season, we’ll be revealing the new roster members, with player # 1 due to be crowned on Wednesday, September 8th.

For a man who would lead a transcendent career and later be inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame, Dick “Night Train” Lane’s NFL career couldn’t have started in a more mundane way.

After a prom season in college and four years in the military, Lane found himself working at a California aircraft factory during the Korean War. Let’s just say the job wasn’t what he thought it would be.

“They told me I would be a filer,†Lane said. “I thought they meant a records clerk in an office. I was a spinner, okay. I put large sheets of metal in trash cans with oil dripping from the metal on me.

Lane was so dissatisfied with his new job that he went looking for alternatives. Among them, a return to football. Convinced that they would give him a chance based on his small college resume and experience on the Army club team, the Los Angeles Rams gave Lane a try without any guarantees.

Soon one of the most unlikely career starts in NFL history began. Lane became a star at the end of his rookie season in 1952, setting a league record in a single season that still stands with 14 interceptions in 12 games.



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