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SU Top 100: #58 Walter Sweeny

Dust off the archives for the 58th spot on our SU Top 100 list. While he didn’t really log any stats on the offensive line (Pro Football Focus came to the light almost 45 years later), Walter Sweeny deserves a heck of a lot of credit for paving the running lanes for some Orange greats. 

Sweeny played for the Orange from 1960-1962 and was one of the men responsible for clearing the runway for Ernie Davis en route to his Heisman trophy. 

He was a major contributor to the 1961 team that beat Miami 15-14 in the Liberty Bowl, thanks to a suffocating rushing attack that powered through the ‘Canes for 221 yards. 

Sweeny’s efforts with the Orange landed him as one of the 44 members on SU’s All-Century team in 1989.

While Sweeny enjoyed plenty of success at SU, his NFL career is on the fringe of being a Hall of Famer. He was selected in the first round of the 1963 AFL Draft by the Chargers. While it’s unlikely he gets into Canton at this point, he racked up nine Pro Bowl appearances while playing for San Diego and Washington. The iron man lineman never missed a regular season game during his career, appearing in 181 straight games.

The fallout of his career may come from what he did with the pen and pad and not on the gridiron. Prior to his death in 2013, he co-authored an autobiography titled “Off Guard,” which exposed the pressures of performance enhancing drugs and being naive to their long term effects. He claims that the release of this book will keep him out of the Hall of Fame, despite his on-field accomplishments.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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