With the 30th pick in the OTC All-Time NFL Draft, Statman32 selects...
Dick "Night Train" Lane
, Cornerback, Rams, Cardinals, Lions
Dick Lane was an Army veteran “looking for a good job” when he stopped in the offices of the Los Angeles Rams in 1952 and asked for a tryout. All he had for credentials was a battered scrapbook, which chronicled his football experiences in high school, junior college and the Army.
The defending-champion Rams’ coach Joe Stydahar saw just enough “good press” in the scrapbook to offer Lane a trial. At first Dick was tried at end but with future Hall of Famers Tom Fears and Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch set as starters, his chances didn't look good. Lane did, however, spend a great deal of time consulting with Fears, who was continually playing the hit record "Night Train," on his phonograph. One day, a teammate entered the room, saw Dick and blurted out, "Hey, there's Night Train," and "Night Train Lane" it was from then on.
Once Stydahar moved Lane to defense, he quickly made an impression. Blessed with outstanding speed, exceptional agility, reflex action, and a fierce determination to excel, “Night Train” set the NFL on fire as a rookie. He intercepted a record 14 passes in the 12-game season. Besides being a constant threat to steal passes, Lane also became known as a devastating tackler.
Lane also was willing to take chances on the field in spite of the risks. Most, however, would agree that percentage-wise he was well a head of the game. Lane played two years with the Rams before being traded to the Cardinals in 1954.
Six years later, he was sent to the Detroit Lions where he enjoyed his finest years. Dick was named first- or second-team All-NFL every year from 1954 through 1963. Named to seven Pro Bowls, Night Train intercepted 68 passes for 1,207 yards and five touchdowns during his Hall of Fame career.
Lane was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974. In 1969 he was named the best cornerback of the first fifty years of pro football. In his 15 NFL seasons, Lane recorded 68 interceptions, 1,207 interception return yards, 5 touchdowns, 11 fumble recoveries, 57 fumble return yards, 1 touchdown, 8 receptions, 253 receiving yards, 1 touchdown catch, and 4 punt returns for 14 yards. He was particularly noted as a hard hitter, who liked to tackle by the head and neck (a technique outlawed today). This tackle was sometimes called a Night Train Necktie
7x Pro Bowl selection (1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962)
10x All-Pro selection (1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963)
NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
NFL 1950s All-Decade Team
NFL record 14 interceptions in one season