MacArthur Lane, a running back whose NFL career spanned 11 seasons, has died at the age of 77.
Lane died on Saturday in Oakland, where he was born and raised, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
After playing both linebacker and running back at Utah State, Lane was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 13th overall pick in the 1968 draft. His best NFL season came in 1970, when he led the league with 11 rushing touchdowns and was chosen to the Pro Bowl.
In 1972 Lane was traded to the Packers, and he played three seasons in Green Bay before he was traded to Kansas City, playing his final four seasons with the Chiefs. In Kansas City in 1976, he led the NFL with 66 catches.
Teammates called him “Mac the Truck” because he liked to run over tacklers rather than around him. That he lasted 11 NFL seasons came as a surprise to Lane himself, who told Sports Illustrated during his third season that he didn’t think his body could withstand that many years.
“I figure a running back has maybe three, 3½ years to do his number,” Lane said. “Where else do you have so much contact on every play? I’m not complaining. I love to hit, and so does any good back. But if you’re not running into The Pit, you’re blocking on those great big linemen, or else you’re catching a pass right out there where the linebackers have a bite at you. Here’s the thing: anyone who hits you is moving when he hits you—moving fast. And you’re moving fast yourself. I’d like to see some computer figure out what position takes the most foot-pounds of energy on impact per play. Gotta be the set-back.”
Lane always considered himself lucky to make a living playing football, explaining that he and his wife took in her two step-siblings because his football income allowed him to provide for a big family.
“If you can afford it, you gotta help out,” he said in 1970. “I earn $30,000 a year—having asked, of course, for $50,000—and the kids are first-rate. . . . Look at my old man—how many years has he been working at tough jobs, construction, making it for a batch of kids? When the hurts catch up with me, I’ve already got a plan.”
In retirement, Lane managed a rental property he owned and did volunteer work. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.