Collected wisdom: Eddie Hinton, former OU and Colts receiver

Interviewed by Jake Trotter, Staff Writer, jtrotter@opubco.com Modified: February 12, 2011 at 8:36 pm •  Published: February 12, 2011
Advertisement
;

Former OU, Baltimore Colts wide receiver

Age: 63

Residence: Spring Branch, Texas

Hometown: Lawton

For 35 years, Eddie Hinton (1966-68) was OU's only 1,000-yard receiver, until Mark Clayton topped the mark in 2003. The Lawton native was later drafted by Baltimore, turned out to be a central figure in Super Bowl V and caught Johnny Unitas' final touchdown pass as a Colt.

I started playing sports in fifth grade. I did the band, I did anything to keep from going home. Because my parents were bootleggers, we were thought of as the bad kids in the neighborhood.

I didn't realize that was building into my character, building into my focus, building me into becoming somebody.

My parents only had a sixth-grade education. When someone asked me in junior high if I was going to college after high school, that was the first time I thought about it.

Sports were always a steppingstone for me. I didn't get caught up in the communities, race relations, what my family was doing. It gave me an escape.

My senior year, we're playing (North Carolina State). I went up and caught the ball with one hand and as I was coming down I was bracing for the ball. Someone came in with a helmet and fractured my fingers. Coach Switzer said, “Well, we can't throw to Hinton no more.” But I said, “No, no, no, I can catch with one hand.” I started learning how to catch with one hand. I perfected that my senior year because I wanted to play.

Barry and I had some times. As a young coach, he had a lot of wisdom. He knew a lot about my life because my parents were bootleggers, too. He asked questions about my family. That never had happened before. But he could identify with a lot I was going through.

He was the coach who could get a little bit more out of you. Missouri had an All-American DB named Roger Wehrli. As we're getting ready to take the field, Barry walks over to me and says, “You know we're playing Missouri, right?” “Uh, yeah, coach.” “You know they've got a great All-American DB.” “Yeah, coach, I've heard y'all talk about him on film.” “Well, he's going to kick your butt today. And guess what else, he's white.”

All of a sudden, I could feel the endorphins running through my body. I almost went insane.

My favorite teammate in college was (quarterback Bob) Warmack. We're still great friends to this day.

In the pros, it was Earl Morrall. He was the second-string quarterback. Right away, he took me under his wing. Right when I got in the game, he threw me the ball. I had to earn the respect of Johnny Unitas. But with Earl, he just took me under his wing.

Johnny Unitas, what a legend. I have to really tell you, I've been truly blessed by the opportunities I've had. To play with a legend like that, that I heard about in high school. ...

The guy was a true, true football player at heart.

Continue reading this story on the...