November 1st, 2011 | Published in Player Deaths
Tom Watkins, running back and kick returner from 1961 to 1968 for the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and Pittsburgh Steelers, passed away on October 29. Watkins led the NFL in yards per punt return in 1964, and in yards per kickoff return in 1965. Watkins is a member of the Iowa State University Athletics Hall of Fame, and there is a summary of his football career on the Iowa State web site.
Watkins is pictured here on his first two football cards: a scarce 1961 National City Bank Browns card and a 1965 Philadelphia card. The 1965 Philadelphia card, though it came four years later, is considered his rookie card because it was produced by a major card company. Watkins also appeared on a 1966 Philadelphia card and a 1968 Topps card. His 1968 Topps card has him with the Rams, but he actually played for the Steelers that year.