Georgiana native recognized for football accolades

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Alabama House of Representatives recently recognized Georgiana native Tommy Morrow for his achievements on the gridiron.

Morrow’s football career lasted only eight years, spanning from when he first stepped on the field as a high school senior to when a knee injury forced his early retirement from the Oakland Raiders.

Morrow said he would have got an earlier start if it weren’t for his parents.

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“I remember sitting on my daddy’s knee begging him to play football,” Morrow said. “He’d always tell me the same thing-go ask your momma.”

And of course, momma didn’t want to see her son get hurt, Morrow said.

Whether it took time or constant nagging from the community isn’t clear, but eventually his parents caved in and let him play.

It didn’t take long for the world to notice that this small-town Georgiana boy had an innate talent for football. He was named Georgiana High School’s Most Valuable Player and, after only playing for one year, was offered a scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi.

During his college career, he carried the ball 21 times for 69 yards, caught three passes for 48 yards and led his team in punting. He played on the 1958 championship team whose record was 9-0. His college accolades were recognized in 1970, when he was the youngest member to be inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi Hall of Fame.

In 1962, Morrow made the jump to professional football, joining the Oakland Raiders as a starting safety.

“I come from a small town-I’m a country boy,” Morrow said. “I went from Georgiana, to Southern Mississippi with over 40,000 students to Oakland, California. You talk about opening a southern boy’s eyes up.”

His rookie year, Morrow racked up 10 interceptions and made second team All-AFL. During his second season, he managed to pick up an interception in each of the first four games. Morrow set an NFL record for intercepting at least one pass in eight consecutive games, a record he still holds today.

In 1963, his mother’s fears were realized. Five games into the season, a knee injury forced Morrow to be sidelined. Though he missed a great deal of the season, he was still selected for first team All-AFL honors. He returned to the Raiders for a few games in 1964, but his knee injury forced him to retire for good.

Morrow said that he wishes his father could have seen him finish his career with the Raiders. Despite initially preventing Tommy from playing, his father was extremely supportive throughout Morrow’s career.

“I kid with people that my dad’s shirt buttons started busting off his chest every time he started talking about me,” Morrow said.

After his career was over, Morrow returned to Mississippi for a brief period before settling in Tennessee.

Morrow spends most of time on the playing golf now. His knee still “clicks every once and a while” but each twinge of pain reminds him of his glory days on the gridiron.

But he has no regrets.

“I’ve had a wonderful life,” Morrow said. “I thank God everyday for what he has blessed me with.”