Thomas Jesse Fears
(December 3, 1922 – January 4, 2000) was a Mexican-American football wide receiver
for the Los Angeles Rams
in the National Football League
, playing nine seasons from 1948 to 1956.
Born in Guadalajara
, Fears was the son of an American mining engineer who had married a Mexican woman, and moved with his family to Los Angeles at the age of six. There, he began to display his ample work ethic by unloading flowers for 25 cents an hour, and later serving as an usher at football games for double that amount.
Fears first played football at Los Angeles' Manual Arts High School, then advanced to compete for Santa Clara University
. He spent one year at the latter school before he was drafted for World War II
and spent the next three years in military service. After his father became a Japanese prisoner of war
, Fears sought to become a fighter pilot to fight Japan. He became a pilot, but was instead shipped to Colorado Springs
to play football for a service team.
Upon his release, he had been drafted by the Rams in 1945, but remained in school and transferred to UCLA
, winning All-American
following each of his two seasons at the school. His senior campaign nearly ended in abrupt fashion in 1947, when he and some Bruin teammates were investigated for posing in local advertisements for a Los Angeles clothing store. When it was determined that Fears and the other players worked for the store, and were not identified as athletes, the... Read More