R.I.P. “The Hammer” & HOF John Mackey
Armen Gilliam AKA “The Hammer” led the UNLV Runnin Rebels to a 37-2 record in 1987, and John Mackey defined the TE position with the Indianapolis Colts in the 60’s and was the second TE enshrined into the HOF in 1992.
“The Hammer” passed at the age of 47 during a pick-up game at a Pittsburgh area health club, Tuesday night. Gilliam led the UNLV Runnin Rebels to a 37-2 record in 1987. He was the #2 draft pick in 1987 draft by the Phoenix Suns. He was a 6′ 9″ Forward who played 13 NBA seasons with the Suns, Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76er’s, NJ Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz. He averaged 13.9 ppg and 6.9 rpg over his career, and changed his name from Armon to Armen sometime in between.
“He was one of the greatest Rebels ever and one of the best players we have ever had,” Jerry Tarkanian, his coach at UNLV, said in a statement released by the university. “He was such a great person. Everybody loved him and he loved everybody. He was such a gentle person and such a caring guy. I am all shook up over it. I think the world of him and am just really shocked.” – espn
H.O.F. (John) Mackey passed at the age of 69, last night, suffering from dementia in recent years. He played 10 seasons with the Baltimore Colts (1963-71) and the San Diego Chargers (1971-73). He was a five-time Pro-Bowler who caught 331 passes for 5,236 yards and 38 TD’s. He helped the Colts win Super Bowl V! He was the president of the NFLPA following AFL-NFL merger. He fought to improve players pension benefits and access to free agency. He was second TE ever inducted the Hall of Fame in 1992. He defined the TE position with with his strength, quickness, and sure hands.
“He was a Hall of Fame player who redefined the tight end position. He was a courageous advocate for his fellow NFL players as head of the NFL Players Association,” NFL Commissioner [Roger] Goodell said. “He worked closely with our office on many issues through the years, including serving as the first president of the NFL Youth Football Fund. He never stopped fighting the good fight. Our thoughts are with Sylvia and the Mackey family on the loss of our good friend.” – espn