Did a Player Once Suffer a Career-Ending Injury on a Coin Toss?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about football and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the football urban legends featured so far.

FOOTBALL URBAN LEGEND: A player suffered a career ending injury walking back from a coin toss.

Albert “Turk” Edwards was a high profile offensive tackle coming out of college in 1932. An All-American for Washington State, Edwards had teams climbing over themselves to sign him. He ultimately signed with the Boston Braves, who changed their name in 1933 to the Boston Redskins and then moved to Washington in 1937.

Edwards spent his entire career playing for the Redskins, and upon his retirement in 1940, he became an assistant coach before finally becoming Head Coach in 1946. He retired in 1948, having spent all of his seventeen years in the NFL as a member of the Redskins organization.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.

Edwards was a massive guy – Life Magazine even did a spread on him in 1938, spotlighting his size…

However, as you might imagine, size can have a major downside, and in Edwards’ case, it led to a bizarre career-ending injury.

Edwards’ knees bothered him for years, but despite knee problems, he still managed to make the All-NFL team in all but his last season in the NFL.

It was during his last season, 1940, that Edwards, as the Captain of the Redskins, came out to do the coin toss in a game against the New York Giants (Edwards former teammate, Mel Hein, was the Giants captain).

After calling the coin toss, Edwards turned to go back to his sideline. However, his cleats stuck in the turf and his knee popped – the injury would finish his career in the NFL!

Four decades later, Baltimore Colts co-captain Robert Pratt pulled a hamstring walking back from a coin toss against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1981!

Those coin tosses are deadly!!

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

Leave a Reply