Clarence “Ace” Parker, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who was the oldest living former NFL player, has died at the age of 101.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that Parker died this morning.
After an All-American career as a single-wing tailback at Duke, Parker was drafted by the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937. He played with the Dodgers for five seasons, and calling him a two-way player doesn’t quite do justice to everything he could do on the football field: Parker played offense, defense and special teams, and in 1938 he was reported to have played 656 minutes of the 660 minutes of that 11-game season.
Parker was a good enough passer that he led the league in passing yards in 1938, he was a good enough defensive back that he led the league in interceptions in 1940, and he was a good enough kicker that he led the league in extra points in 1940. He was also a punter and both a kickoff and punt returner. In 1940 he was voted the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.
After the 1941 season Parker left the NFL to serve in the Navy in World War II. He returned to pro football in 1945 with the Boston Yanks, and he played one last season of professional football in 1946 with the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference.
A great all-around athlete, Parker also played basketball at Duke and played two seasons of Major League Baseball with the Philadelphia Athletics. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972.