Ray Mansfield | Pittsburgh Steelers - Steelers.com

Ray Mansfield hall_of_honor_honoree_page_header_teamplateperson-header
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Position Center
Height 6' 3"
Weight 250
College Washington
Drafted 1963
2nd Round (18th Overall)
Philadelphia Eagles
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1963 Defensive Tackle, Philadelphia Eagles
1964 - 1965 Defensive Tackle, Pittsburgh Steelers
1966 - 1976 Center, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Super Bowl IX, X
Hall of Honor 2023

When you talk about the standard, it was Ray Mansfield who set the standard for Steelers' centers.

While he began his career in the black and gold on the defensive line, it was his time at center that earned him the glory in his career.

Mansfield played 13 seasons (1964-76) for the Steelers and was a part of two Super Bowl championship teams. He still holds the Steelers record for most consecutive games played with 182 straight regular season games.

"Ray was a special person," late Steelers coach Chuck Noll once said. "He was one of the guys who was a Steeler when I arrived in '69, and he was great in the locker room. He was a guy that everybody rallied around. He always had a certain amount of levity, but he was a tremendous football player."

Mansfield was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 1963 NFL Draft. After one season with the Eagles, he was traded to the Steelers in exchange for cash.

Mansfield was teammates with Gerry Mullins, who is also a part of the Class of 2023, and was always willing to help younger players on the team.

"Ray was a grizzled veteran when I was a rookie and I heard stories about veterans didn't care too much for rookies because they thought you were out to get their jobs," said Mullins. "When I came to Pittsburgh, Ray, Bruce Van Dyke, they were veterans and took me under their wing and helped me out. They showed me the ropes. They told me to excel on special teams. That was part of the learning process. Having guys like that give you a leg up was priceless."

Mansfield was the starting center for the Steelers Super Bowl IX and X teams, one of just a handful of players who were a part of Noll's first season in 1969 that went on to win a Super Bowl with the team.

Adhering to Chuck Noll's mantra of 'Whatever It Takes,' Mansfield also kicked two extra points in the 1976 postseason after Roy Gerela pulled a groin muscle. He kicked the first one in a win over the Baltimore Colts in the 1976 AFC Divisional Round and another in a loss to the Oakland Raiders in the 1976 AFC Championship Game, the final game of his career as he retired that offseason.

"You know, it's hard to come in here and say, 'I quit,'" said Mansfield to the gathered media the day he retired in 1977. "I guess I never was prepared for retiring. But I don't think I'm going back. Still, after 14 years, it's hard to tell yourself no.

"There comes a time for a guy to quit and it's time for me to quit. I decided an athlete should go out while he still has something to give. He should be remembered for being able to give something to his team.

"My only regret during that time was that it wasn't 14 years with the Steelers instead of 13.

"The thing I'm going to miss most are in the people in the game. Those guys out there are my friends, although they've been calling me their father for a long time now. It's going to be hard to come to the stadium or watch on TV. It's going to be like a father watching his sons play."

Mansfield, who was nicknamed 'The Ranger' for his love of the outdoors, died at just 55-years-old when he collapsed during a hike in the Grand Canyon in 1996.