Richard "Dick" Lane
(April 16, 1927 – January 29, 2002) nicknamed "Night Train"
, was an American football
player, best known as a defensive back
for the Los Angeles Rams
, Chicago Cardinals
and Detroit Lions
. During his rookie season in 1952
, Lane established the record for most interception
in an NFL season (14).
He was born in Austin, Texas and raised by Ella Lane, a woman who found him abandoned as an infant. After graduation from high school
, he spent one year at Scottsbluff Junior College, Nebraska, before dropping out and serving four years in the United States Army
In 1952, the 24-year-old Lane showed up at the Los Angeles Rams training camp
looking for a job because he disliked his current occupation at an aircraft factory. He was originally trying out for Wide Receiver, but the Rams switched him to defensive back. While with the Rams, he acquired the nickname "Night Train" from a hit record by Buddy Morrow
, frequently played by teammate Tom Fears
. He initially disliked the nickname, but it grew on him after it gained national attention, first appearing in print describing a tackle
in a Rams exhibition game: Dick "Night Train" Lane derails Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice.
He wore number 81, unusual for a defensive back, because he was initially projected as a tight end
. The receivers playing in front of him on the Rams, Fears and Elroy Hirsch
, were stars and future Hall of Famers
, so... Read More