For a while, it looked like Ray Schoenke’s NFL career would be a short one.
After playing his college ball at SMU, the hometown Dallas Cowboys drafted Schoenke in the 11th round of the 1963 NFL Draft. He was a starter along the offensive line by his second season, but an injury kept him off the field entirely in 1965.
It looked like that might be the end of the line for Schoenke. A year away from the game, followed by two new teams getting rid of him before the season even started didn’t portend a long and productive career.
But the Redskins gave him a shot, and Schoenke made them happy they did.
From 1966 through 1975, Schoenke played 122 games for Washington, mostly at left guard, although he also played left tackle at points during that stretch. Schoenke was there as the Redskins morphed from a franchise of perpetual mediocrity to one of perennial contention.
Washington posted only one winning record during Schoenke’s first five years with the team (1969, the season Vince Lombardi was the head coach before being struck down by cancer). During his final five seasons, the Redskins put together winning records in all five, and made the playoffs four times. That included Washington’s NFC Championship season of 1972 under George Allen.
Schoenke made it on the list of All-Time Redskins during the team’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1987. He was also very active off the field, and was an instrumental part of the creation of the Special Olympics. Among the list of Redskins players ranked by “Approximate Value” on Pro Football Reference, Schoenke is easily tops for those who wore #62.
He’s a worthy addition to our list as well.
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