Ernie Wheelwright (running back)

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Ernie Wheelwright
No. 30, 39
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: (1939-11-28)November 28, 1939
Columbus, Ohio
Died: May 1, 2001(2001-05-01) (aged 61)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Career information
High school: Columbus (OH) Central
College: Southern Illinois
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts-yards: 387-1426
Receptions-yards: 54-531
Touchdowns: 16
Player stats at

Ernest Lamour 'Wheels' Wheelwright (November 28, 1939 - May 1, 2001) was an American football player. He attended Southern Illinois University.

He had several careers but is chiefly remembered as an American football player who played as a running back for the New York Giants (1964–65), Atlanta Falcons (1966–67) and the New Orleans Saints (1967–70).

He was also an actor who appeared in a number of films including: The Longest Yard (1974), Trackdown (1976), The Greatest (1977) & Wildcats (1986). Immediately before he began his career as a running back he had served in the 101st Airborne Division(a.k.a. the Screaming Eagles).[1]

Ernie Wheelwright was also owner of one of Atlanta's premier nightclubs in the 1960s, the Pink Pussycat Club.[2] 'Wheels' hosted many visiting black artists and had the opportunity to cut a record 'Beggin You Back' for the local Gaye label owned by Johnny Brooks.[3][note 1] In 1970 the NFL asked Wheelwright, then with the New Orleans Saints, to sell his interest on the grounds that continuing ownership would bring the NFL into disrepute.[4]

Ernie Wheelwright died of cancer in Las Vegas on May 1, 2001, aged 61.


  1. ^ J T. Brooks who was also an engineer and record producer had opened his own facility in Atlanta in 1964. Wheelwright's disc was one of at least eight on Gaye; in addition Brooks was owner of the gospel label Sounds of Atlanta whose roster included Little Jimmy Dempsey, Big Chief Weatherington, the Soul Searchers and The Blackwood Singers.


  1. ^ Sports Illustrated, 19th Hole, Readers comments, June 15, 1970
  2. ^ Roy Powers "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-12-07. Retrieved 2010-05-31. 
  3. ^ Sir Shambling Deep Soul Website
  4. ^ Sports Illustrated, This Saint has been called a sinner, June 1st 1970

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