Images: Volume 1, Week 40

The cast on Nolan Cromwell's injured right knee was removed in January 1977.
Nolan Cromwell’s cast removal in January 1977.
By February 1977, Cromwell heavily into his rehabilitation.
By February 1977, Cromwell heavily into his rehabilitation.

This is a two-fold look at one of the most exciting football players I have ever had the pleasure of watching and photographing on a football field, the truly great Nolan Cromwell. In one magical season, Cromwell electrified KU football fans like few others have in the Jayhawks’ checkered football history. Switched from the safety position to quarterback in 1975, Cromwell became one of the most dynamic triple-option players in the history of the game.

Cromwell signed an autograph at the doctor's office.
Cromwell signed an autograph at the doctor’s office.

Against Oregon State, Cromwell ran for 294 yards. That benchmark for a rushing quarterback stood for 38 years. Later against No. 1 Oklahoma, Cromwell orchestrated a 23-3 defeat of the defending national champion Sooners, in Norman, no less. Cromwell rushed for 1,124 yards that season and was named the Big 8 offensive player of the year. In 1976, Cromwell’s senior season, KU stood 5-1 and ranked No. 8 in the nation. They would finish 6-5 after a knee injury ended Cromwell’s college career.

Cromwell's intercepted a Chiefs' pass on October 20, 1985.
Cromwell’s interception.

That is where my personal history with Cromwell began. Cromwell graciously offered me the opportunity to document his rehabilitation. Even with a wounded knee, my favorite NFL team, the Los Angeles Rams, drafted Cromwell in the second round. Returning to his safety position, he became a fixture in the secondary for some very good Rams’ teams.

For the Topeka Capital-Journal’s SportsPlus weekly magazine, I photographed Cromwell again on October 20, 1985 in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Cromwell picked off a Chiefs’ pass in the 16-0 Rams’ victory. The athletic ability that made him a Big 8 champion 400m hurdler and a multi-sport legend in his hometown of Ransom, Kansas, remained with him throughout his 11-year professional career. That career included being named the NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1980 after helping lead the Rams to Super Bowl XIV.

Cromwell greeted Stephone Paige after the Rams' victory.
Cromwell greeted Stephone Paige after the Rams’ victory.
Cromwell's fans turned out for Rams game just as they did during his KU career.
Cromwell’s fans turned out for Rams’ game just as they did during his KU career.
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About jeffjacobsen

Thank you for reading my blog, Here I Stand. You can read all about me, my wife and my family on the Family page. God bless and keep you.
This entry was posted in America, Football, Kansas, Photography, Sports and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Images: Volume 1, Week 40

  1. Earl Richardson says:

    Definitely my favorite college football player. He was amazing.

  2. Jon Hardesty says:

    He was one of KU’s greatest athletes. My hero back when I was in high school. Thanks for sharing Jeff.

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