Jul 122015
 
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1954 New York Giants

1954 New York Giants – Haldo Norman is #84

Jason Pierre-Paul is not the first New York Giant player to lose a digit during an off-season, non-football-related accident.

In the summer of 1954, the Giants signed what they thought was a promising young end named Haldo Norman to their roster. Norman was a highly-regarded end coming out of Gustavus Adolphus College in 1951, where he finished among the nation’s leaders in pass receiving. After being drafted by San Francisco, Norman suffered a broken collar bone during training camp and spent the next two seasons on the taxi squad.

The 49ers released Norman after the 1953 season, which ultimately led to a lawsuit against San Francisco and a $4,500 settlement. The Giants, who were under a new regime following a disastrous 1953 campaign where everything went wrong, desperately needed help to revive their passing game.

Among the numerous changes head coach Jim Lee Howell and offensive coordinator Vince Lombardi had in mind were completely abandoning Single Wing football and converting to the modern T-Formation. Because of that, the roster needed quality receivers. In addition, Norman was also a talented place kicker, meaning he would save New York a roster spot by multi-tasking.

Unfortunately, shortly before training camp started, Norman severed a toe while mowing his lawn. The injury not only forced the Giants to scramble for added depth at the end position, New York also now needed a place kicker. The Giants signed Ben Agajanian who had been released by the Los Angeles Rams.

Norman did play in two preseason games after the injury as a kicker, and converted four PATs and a field goal. However, he never appeared in a regular season game. The Giants carried him on their roster and he appeared in full uniform in the team photo that was taken at the Polo Grounds in October.

Norman retired after the 1954 season and went into private business and also coached high school football.

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Larry Schmitt

Larry is a lifelong Giants fan, former third-generation season ticket holder and passionate student of Pro Football history. Reading material that can be found on the shelves of his football library are divided between texts on Giants history, player biographies, yearbooks and game programs as well as volumes covering the general history of professional football, and frequently searches libraries for out-of-print copies of football books. Larry was born in Brooklyn, NY, grew up in Putnam Valley, NY and currently resides in New Milford, CT with his wife and son. He enjoys teaching Yoga and playing guitar when not writing history articles for BBI or assisting in research projects for The Gridiron Uniform Database.

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