Former TCU lineman and AFL great Sherrill Headrick was born on this day in back in 1937. We salute the former Frog who went on to a great career with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Headrick played high school football at Fort Worth Northside High School, home of the Steers. He was an All-District fullback at Northside but played offensive guard at TCU for Abe Martin. After three seasons in Fort Worth the academic requirements of the institution got to be too much for Headrick and he went north to the Canadian Football League.
After a year in Canada, Headrick came home to work the oil fields of west Texas and New Mexico. Around the same time, Lamar Hunt was putting together a football franchise in Dallas as part of the fledgling American Football League or AFL. Headrick left the oil fields and signed on with the newly formed Dallas Texans. With the Texans Headrick moved to linebacker and became a star. Once the Texans moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs, he was considered one of the greats even in an era of incredible middle linebackers including Ray Nitschke, Sam Huff, and Nick Buoniconti.
Nicknamed "Psycho" by his teammates, Headrick was a wild man on the field but a student of the game off it, able to stay one step ahead of the offense thanks to his preparation. Undersized, Headrick threw his body into the fray with reckless abandon and his body paid for it. A fractured thumb, sprained back, two hemorrhoid operations and even a cracked vertebra failed to keep him out of the lineup. What finally did take him out was the Chiefs' selection of Hall of Fame linebacker Willie Lanier. As Headrick said, "linebackers kept getting bigger, stronger, and faster. I never did.
Headrick was a five time AFL All-Star and two time AFL champion. As he grew older the beating his body took caught up to him. “I’ve been a cripple for years. People ask, would you do it again? I would have liked to have made more money, but it was the most enjoyable thing in the whole world to me. Playing with all the guys, playing in the first Super Bowl, most people don’t accomplish nearly as much in sports.”
Headrick passed away in 2008 after a long bought with cancer. Happy Birthday to a TCU and AFL legend.