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Pettis Norman

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Position:  Tight end / Split end
College:  Johnson C. Smith
Children  Sharneen Norman
High school:  West Charlotte
Weight  101 kg
Height:  6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Role  American football player
Name  Pettis Norman

Pettis Norman Pettis Norman and Curly Neal 1966 Flickr Photo Sharing
Date of birth:  (1939-01-04) January 4, 1939 (age 76)
Education  Johnson C. Smith University

Place of birth:  Lincolnton, Georgia

Pettis Norman: Football Tight End and Split End

Pettis Burch Norman (born January 4, 1939) is a former professional American football tight end in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and the San Diego Chargers. He played college football at Johnson C. Smith University.


Pettis Norman Woman found slain in downtown apartment was former Cowboy

Early years

Pettis Norman Pettis Norman Super Bowl V photos

Norman attended West Charlotte High School where he made the team until his junior season and became a starter in his final year. He was going to enlist in the Air Force until he received a football scholarship from Johnson C. Smith University by then coach Eddie McGirt, without ever having seen him play.

Pettis Norman Pettis Norman 1965 Philadelphia 51 Vintage Football Card Gallery

He was named the starter and team MVP at split end as a freshman. He was a two-way player and became a two-time All-CIAA selection. As a senior he had a game with 5 receptions for 133 yards, 2 touchdowns and was credited with 14 tackles.

He also lettered in track and field, once posting a 9.7 seconds 100-yard dash. The university's annual award given to the school's most outstanding student-athlete is named after him.

In 1977, he was inducted into the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Dallas Cowboys

Norman was selected by the Dallas Texans in the 16th round (123rd overall) of the 1962 AFL Draft, but he wasn't chosen in the NFL Draft, after dropping because the Texans spread rumors that they had already signed him to a contract. This situation influenced him to choose instead to play for the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent.

He was used mostly on special teams during his first two seasons. In 1963, he was initially used as a split end and started 6 games, before being moved to tight end because he excelled in blocking.

The next year, he became a full-time starter and manned the Cowboys tight end position for nearly a decade, becoming part of the franchise's legacy of great tight ends that included: Jim Doran, Dick Bielski, Lee Folkins, Mike Ditka, Billy Joe Dupree, Jackie Smith, Doug Cosbie, Jay Novacek and Jason Witten.

In 1965 and 1966, he splitted the tight end job with Franklin Clarke.

When Ditka joined the Cowboys in 1969 after having been a 4 time All-Pro tight end with the Chicago Bears, Norman remained the starter, but split playing time with Ditka to provide great blocking and leadership along the offensive line. He also started Super Bowl V, which was a loss to the Baltimore Colts.

The sports announcer Jack Buck during his two-year stint covering the Cowboys, famously referred to him on the air as Norman Pettis. Prompting Blackie Sherrod a sportswriter in Dallas, to write: "Dallas fans are tired of Pettis Norman constantly being referred to as Norman Pettis by broadcaster Buck Jack".

After trading the troubled Lance Rentzel, the Cowboys replaced him with future hall of famer Lance Alworth and Norman was sent to the San Diego Chargers as part of the "Bambi trade" in May 1971, that also involved Ron East and Tony Liscio.

San Diego Chargers

In his first season with the San Diego Chargers, he was named the starter at tight end and had a career-high 27 catches for 358 yards. He played with the Chargers until he retired after the 1973 season because of a degenerative knee condition, having played 12 years and 162 games, receiving 183 passes for 2,492 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Personal life

Norman was active in changing the segregationist climate within the Cowboys and later the city of Dallas, helping organized marches during the Civil Rights Movement, influencing the changing of the team's roommate assignments and breaking social barriers. He also became a successful businessman in different ventures (fast food franchises, real state, transportation, convenience stores, etc.).

He sued the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers, claiming medical negligence in the handling of his injured knee.

On December 2, 2014, the Dallas Police Department reported that Sharneen Norman, who also went by "Shawn," died from a gunshot wound. She was one of three of Norman's children.


Pettis Norman Wikipedia