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Art Weiner

Sport: Football

Born: August 16, 1926

Died: December 25, 2013

Town: Newark

Arthur Edward Weiner was born August 16, 1926 in Newark. A tall, fast athlete, Art excelled in a wide range of sports, but came to the attention of college recruiters as a receiver at West Side High. He was also a good blocker, bringing tight end skills to the gridiron before that position had been formally conceived. He topped out at 6’3” and 215 pounds, taking after his father, who was a Newark policeman.

Art accepted a scholarship from the University of North Carolina. He and halfback Charlie Justice gave the Tar Heels a formidable one-two punch. In 1947, 1948 and 1949, Art was named All-SEC as the Tar Heels established themselves as a national powerhouse. In 1948 and 1949, Art earned several All-American nods. As a senior in 1949, he caught 52 passes to tie the NCAA record set two years earlier by Barney Poole of Ole Miss. Art graduated with UNC career records for receptions and TD catches that stood for decades.

Art was the X factor in two huge wins in 1949. In the Tar Heels' second game of the year he caught a pair of scoring passes in a 21–14 win over Georgia, including the game winner in the final seconds. In the big game against Duke, he caught 8 passes, scored twice and blocked a field goal with 5 seconds left to preserve a 21–20 victory. Art was also a solid defensive end. In his final college game—the Senior Bowl in January 1950—he was named Outstanding Lineman.

In 1950, Art was the first draft pick of the New York Yanks. The Yanks began the year 6–1 but stumbled to a 7–5 finish. Art and Dan Edwards combined for 87 catches, with Art racking up 35 and averaging over 20 yards per catch, which was second in the NFL. He also scored 6 touchdowns.

Pro football didn’t pay particularly well in the early 50s and it was a brutal game. Plus the Yanks were teetering on the brink of financial collapse. Art decided to take a job coaching at Kings Mountain High School, west of Charlotte, and work on his Masters degree. He got the bug again in 1952, however, and joined the Dallas Texans. The Texans formed after the Yanks failed and were given back to the league. Fellow New Jerseyans Frank Tripucka and Sisto Averno also suited up for the new franchise, which played good defense in its preseason games. Art injured his knee in camp and never actually played a down in the regular season for Dallas, which would suffer through a 1–11 season.

Art returned to North Carolina and went to work for Burlington Industries. He later ran a travel agency. Art’s number 50 was retired by the Tar Heels and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992. He passed away in 2013 at 87 on Christmas day.

 

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