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February 27 in American Football History
1972 – Former Butkus Award winner Dana Howard was born. Howard played for East St. Louis (IL) before signing with Illinois and playing for the Fighting Illini from 1991-1994. As a senior in 1994, he was selected as the winner of the Butkus Award before entering the 1995 NFL Draft where he was chosen by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round with the 168th overall pick. He was ultimately cut by the Cowboys then signed by the St. Louis Rams where he played in all 16 games that fall without registering any statistics. He was then cut in the 1996 preseason and signed later that fall by the Chicago Bears where he played in three games. He wasn’t resigned after the season and never played in an NFL game again.
1996 – Heisman Trophy winner Vic Janowicz passed away at the age of 66 years old just one day after his birthday. Janowicz attended Elyria (OH) High School before playing halfback at Ohio State (1949-1951). As a junior in 1950, he won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s top player, and as a senior in 1951, he played for the first Buckeyes team coached by the legendary Woody Hayes. He was selected by the Washington Redskins in the seventh round of the 1952 NFL Draft with the 79th overall pick, but elected to pursue a baseball career instead. He debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 31, 1953, and played for the Pirates until September 1954 during which he batted only .214 and was ultimately nothing more than a bench player. He then decided to join the Redskins making his NFL debut in the fall of 1954 and served as the team’s starting halfback in 1955 before a serious auto accident ended his career just prior to the 1956 season. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1976 and passed away on February 27, 1996, just one day after his 66th birthday.
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