Ernie Ladd

Ernie Ladd

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Ernie Ladd

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Ernest "Ernie" Ladd (November 28, 1938 – March 10, 2007), nicknamed "The Big Cat" was an American collegiate and professional football player and a professional wrestler.

Pro Football career

The American Football League's San Diego Chargers selected the Grambling State University standout with their 15th pick in the 1961 draft. At 6'9" and 315 pounds, Ladd was arguably the biggest and strongest man in professional football during his era: 52-inch chest, 39-inch waist, 20-inch biceps, 19-inch neck, 20-inch calf, and size 18D shoes. (According to different sources, the tallest player in NFL history was Morris Stroud (1970 Chiefs) at 6'10", or Richard Sligh (1967 Raiders) at 7'0". The heaviest player in history was Aaron Gibson, at 410 pounds.) Ladd played in three AFL championship games, helping the Chargers win the American Football League title in 1963 with fellow teammate Earl Faison, both members of the original Fearsome Foursome.

Ladd spent the 1966 season playing for the Houston Oilers before moving in 1967 to the Kansas City Chiefs. There, with former Grambling teammate Buck Buchanan, he filled out what was probably the biggest defensive tackle tandem in history. Both Ladd and Buchanan are members of the Grambling State University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Boston Patriots center Jon Morris said Ladd was so big, he blocked out the sun: "It was dark. I couldn’t see the linebackers.......
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