Gladewater Native Posthumously Inducted Into Pro Football Hall Of Fame
This weekend, the NFL inducted several legends into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame as they celebrated the Centennial Class of 2020 and The Class of 2021 this weekend. One of the members of the 2020 Centennial Class is an East Texas football legend who passed away before he could receive his honor but he will be forever immortalized as one of the greats in Canton.
Winston Hill was born in Joaquin, Texas in 1941 and shortly after his family moved to Gladewater where he was a tennis champion but he would later become an All-American offensive and defensive line star at Texas Southern University.
Hill would go on to be drafted in the 11th round by the NFL's Baltimore Colts but he signed as a free agent with the then AFL affiliated New York Jets where he spent 14 of his 15-season career.
Hill helped the Jets to back-to-back division titles in 1968 and 1969 and started at left tackle in Jets’ upset of the Colts in Super Bowl III when Namath “guaranteed” their victory. Hill is noted as one of the game’s best pass protectors earning himself 8 trips to the Pro Bowl before spending his final season with the Los Angeles Rams in 1977.
According to The Pro Football Hall Of Fame, at the time of his retirement, Hill held Jets’ records for most consecutive career games (195) and consecutive starts (174). He was named All-Pro and All-AFL in 1969, Second-Team All-AFL three times and Second-Team All-NFL three times. Additionally, Hill received All-AFC honors five straight seasons (1970-74), was voted to the first AFL All-Star Game during his second season.
After football, according to ESPN, he opened a ribs and barbecue restaurant, and it exists today as Winston's Smoke BBQ in Centennial, Colorado. He was a gifted motivational speaker and devoted his spare time to helping underserved communities. Hill was also inducted last fall into the Black College Football Hall of Fame. If you have some time, check out this fascinating ESPN article about Hill's friendship with now fellow Hall Of Famer Joe Namath.
Unfortunately, Winston Hill passed away on April 26, 2016 at the age of 74. His daughters Heather Hill and Hovlyn Hill-May were in Canton to reveal their late father's bust over the weekend with his family to celebrate this tremendous honor.