Fate brought Layne back to Pittsburgh

  • The Steelers currently have 22 former players, coaches or contributors in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and that number will increase to 23 later this summer when Jerome Bettis is inducted as a member of the Class of 2015. In advance of his induction Steelers.com will share the stories of the 22 Steelers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
    • Bobby Layne
      Quarterback (1958-62)
      Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: 1967

Layne was originally drafted by the Steelers, but traded to the Chicago Bears where he began his career in 1948. He went on to the New York Bulldogs in 1949, and the Detroit Lions from 1950-58. Layne was a two-time All-NFL selection and was the league's scoring champion in 1956 and set Lions records that stood for more than 50 years.

Fate brought Layne to the Steelers for the final years of his career, 1958-62, where he brought his leadership and competitiveness to a team that needed it. Lions coach Buddy Parker left the team in 1957 to coach the Steelers, and the following year the Steelers acquired Layne via a trade in October. The two combined for what would be the Steelers best year to date.

In his book, "My 75 Years with the Steelers," Dan Rooney Sr. wrote about Layne's arrival in Pittsburgh after picking him up at the airport.

"He questioned me the whole way, wanting to know everything about the players, the coaches and the city," wrote Rooney. "From the time his foot hit the ground on the field at South Park, Bobby Layne was in charge. He was that kind of guy, always in command."

Layne expressed his desire to be a success when reporters first met him.

"I just hope I can do as well for Buddy as I did in Detroit," Layne told the reporters.  

In his first full season with the Steelers Layne completed 142 passes for 1,986 yards and 20 touchdowns. He followed that with passing for 1,814 yards and 13 touchdowns in 1960, 1,205 yards and 11 touchdowns in just eight games in 1971 and 1,686 yards and nine touchdowns in 1962, his final season.

Layne finished his amazing career with 1,814 completions for 26,768 yards and 196 touchdowns in 175 career games, but once stated his biggest disappointment in football was never winning a championship for Art Rooney Sr.

Layne returned back to his home state of Texas after his career ended, where he died in 1986 at the age of 59.

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