Philadelphia Eagles: 30 greatest players in franchise history
By John Buhler
Pete Retzlaff‘s football journey sure is an interesting one. A native of the Dakotas, he played his college ball as a running back for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. While he was initially drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1953, he wouldn’t make his NFL debut until three years later as a member of the Eagles.
Fresh out of the army, the former halfback was converted into a pass catcher in Philadelphia. Keep in mind that he never caught a pass when he played in college. In his third season in the NFL in 1958, Retzlaff made his first Pro Bowl, leading the NFL in receptions with 56. From then on, Retzlaff was one of the most reliable pass catchers in the NFL for a decade with the Eagles.
Overall, Retzlaff made five trips to the Pro Bowl and earned two All-Pro first team nods in 1958 and in 1965. Retzlaff made two additional All-Pro second teams in 1964 and 1966. He also played a big part in the Eagles’ NFL Championship in 1960. That season he had 46 catches for 826 yards and five touchdowns.
Retzlaff would only play for the Eagles in his professional career, retiring after 11 NFL seasons in 1966 at age 35. He would accumulate 452 receptions for 7,412 yards and 47 touchdowns in Eagles uniform. Retzlaff is a member of the Eagles Hall of Fame and has his No. 44 jersey retired by the organization. Like many on this list, Retzlaff is probably not going to be a Pro Football Hall of Famer, but his impact on this team is without question.