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Don Joyce (American football)

Don Joyce
No. 11, 71, 76, 83
Defensive end/Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1929-10-08) October 8, 1929
Place of birth: Steubenville, Ohio
Date of death: February 26, 2012
Career information
College: Tulane
NFL Draft: 1951 / Round: 2 / Pick: 18
Debuted in 1951
Last played in 1962
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played-started 135-7
Interceptions 1
Fumble recoveries 5
Stats at

Don Joyce (October 8, 1929 – February 26, 2012) was an American football defensive end and professional wrestler.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • American Football career 2
  • Professional wrestling career 3
  • Personal life 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Early life

Joyce was born in Steubenville, Ohio, to James and Frances Joyce. He attended Steubenville High School and Tulane University. At Tulane, he lettered in both 1949 and 1950 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.[1]

American Football career

In the 1951 National Football League Draft, Joyce was picked 18th overall by the Chicago Cardinals. He played with the Cardinals until being transferred to the Baltimore Colts three years later in 1954. During his career with the Colts, the team won the NFL championship in 1958 and 1959. Joyce was named to the Pro Bowl following the 1958 season. For the 1961 season, Joyce transferred to the Minnesota Vikings. The following year, Joyce played for the American Football League's Denver Broncos. He played only six games for the Broncos, and retired after the 1962 season.

Professional wrestling career

Joyce was a professional wrestler during the football off-season. Debuting in 1956, he worked mainly in and around the Baltimore, Maryland area for Vince McMahon, Sr. He wrestled exclusively as a face ("good guy") character, owing to his NFL contract which stated he could not work as a heel ("bad guy").[1] He sometime teamed with Gene Lipscomb.[2]

Personal life

Joyce was married and had three children.[1] After retiring from football and professional wrestling, Joyce worked as a football coach at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis for five years.[3] He was also a football scout for thirty years, including seven years as the head scout for the Colts until 1995.[1] In 1983, Joyce was shot twice following a robbery in a hotel room in Sikeston, Missouri, and required surgery to remove a bullet from his shoulder. His wife suffered a head injury after being pistol-whipped, but both made a full recovery.[4]

Joyce died on February 26, 2012, in Mahtomedi, Minnesota, and was buried on March 2.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Oliver, Greg (December 18, 2012). "Don Joyce was famed defensive end, part-time wrestler". Slam! Sports.  
  2. ^ "Daddy Lipscomb returns to Baltimore as rassler".  
  3. ^ Walters, Charlie (February 27, 2012). "Shooter Now II: Ex-Viking Don Joyce, once NFL's 'meanest player,' dies at 82".  
  4. ^ "Former Viking, Don Joyce, robbed, shot, while trying to protect his wife from gunman".  
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