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Ernie Wheelwright (running back)

Ernie Wheelwright
No. 30, 39
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1939-11-28)November 28, 1939
Place of birth: Columbus, Ohio
Date of death: May 1, 2001(2001-05-01) (aged 61)
Place of death: Las Vegas, Nevada
Career information
College: Southern Illinois University
Debuted in 1964
Last played in 1970
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts-yards 387-1426
Receptions-yards 54-531
Touchdowns 16
Stats at

Ernest Lamour 'Wheels' Wheelwright (November 28, 1939 - May 1, 2001) is a former American football player. He was born in Columbus, Ohio on and attended Southern Illinois University.

He had several careers but is chiefly remembered as an American football player who played as a running back for the New York Giants(1964–65), Atlanta Falcons(1966–67) and the New Orleans Saints(1967–70).

He was also an actor who appeared in a number of films including: The Longest Yard (1974), Trackdown (1976), The Greatest (1977) & Wildcats (1986). Immediately before he began his career as a running back he had served in the 101st Airborne Division(aka the Screaming Eagles).[1]

Ernie Wheelwright was also owner of one of Atlanta's premier nightclubs in the 1960s, the Pink Pussycat Club.[2] 'Wheels' hosted many visiting black artists and had the opportunity to cut a record 'Beggin You Back' for the local Gaye label owned by Johnny Brooks.[3][note 1] In 1970 the NFL asked Wheelwright, then with the New Orleans Saints, to sell his interest on the grounds that continuing ownership would bring the NFL into disrepute.[4]

Ernie Wheelwright died of cancer in Las Vegas on May 1, 2001 aged 61.


  1. ^ J T. Brooks who was also an engineer and record producer had opened his own facility in Atlanta in 1964.Wheelwright's disc was one of at least eight on Gaye. In addition Brooks was owner of the gospel label Sounds of Atlanta whose roster included Little Jimmy Dempsey, Big Chief Weatherington, the Soul Searchers and The Blackwood Singers.


  1. ^ Sports Illustrated, 19th Hole, Readers comments , June 15th 1970
  2. ^ Roy Powers
  3. ^ Sir Shambling Deep Soul Website
  4. ^ Sports Illustrated, This Saint has been called a sinner, June 1st 1970
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