Hank Lauricella, “Mr. Everything,” dies at 83

AP

Hank Lauricella, a college football superstar, NFL player and Louisiana legislator who helped paved the way for the building of the Superdome, has died at the age of 83.

In college at Tennessee, Lauricella became known as “Mr. Everything” because he was, as the New York Times put it, the team’s main runner, passer, punter, punt returner, kickoff returner, offensive signal caller and defensive safety. Lauricella was one of the last of football’s single-wing tailbacks, who could run, pass or punt. His highlight reel shows all the great things that single-wing players did that we rarely see in modern football, including spins and jump passes, and it also includes his 75-yard run against Texas in the 1951 Cotton Bowl, one of the best runs in football history.

Lauricella was a Heisman Trophy runner-up and is a College Football Hall of Famer, but his NFL career was short: He was drafted by the Dallas Texans and played for them in 1952, but when they moved to Baltimore and became the Colts, Lauricella decided not to go with them and instead joined the Army. He later served in Korea.

After leaving the Army Lauricella was a Louisiana state representative from 1964 to 1972 and a state senator from 1972 to 1996, and he was instrumental in the building of the Louisiana Superdome, where the Saints continue to play.