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Bruin Bites: Reggie Carter's New Gig, UCLA's Scientific Advances, Cantlay Interview, Ball's New Deal

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Bruins Nation gets the week started with the Monday morning edition of the Bruin Bites round-up of bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse.

The easiest argument to be made is on behalf of UCLA's Kenny Washington. Acclaimed as the best...

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The easiest argument to be made is on behalf of UCLA's Kenny Washington. Acclaimed as the best college player of 1939 in a vote of the men who faced him, Washington nonetheless went undrafted and unsigned by the NFL because of the owners' "gentlemen's agreement." Thus through the early '40s he played four seasons in the Pacific Coast Football League, which he dominated, even as he suffered several knee injuries. He passed, ran and commanded the defensive secondary. By the end of his minor league career, mostly with the Hollywood Bears, Washington had taken on placekicking duties too -- kicking lefty, on account of those knee injuries' ruling out use of his right leg. When the Rams finally signed him in 1946, Washington was well past his prime, yet he turned in three creditable NFL seasons, including a 1947 campaign in which his performance -- he led the league in total yardage, average yards per carry (7.4) and the longest run from scrimmage (92 yards) -- hinted at what he could have done if only he hadn't been cheated of six years. Upon Washington's death in 1971, former Rams teammate Bob Waterfield said, "If he had come into the NFL directly from UCLA, he would have been, in my opinion, the best the NFL had ever seen." It's the Pro Football, not NFL, Hall of Fame, so Washington deserves all credit for those minor league seasons on the West Coast. So does Woody Strode, who as a Hollywood Bear caught many of the passes that Washington threw. The Rams signed Strode, a teammate at UCLA, to serve as Washington's roommate on the road, and the club released him after a season because, Strode said before his death in 1994, it objected to his interracial marriage to a Hawaiian princess. So he decamped to Canada, where he led the Calgary Stampeders to a Grey Cup -- more non-NFL pro-football cred. Strode's career may not reach the threshold for induction as a player, but he deserves a spot in the Hall for his role as a trailblazer.

Bruin Pioneers (Legends) Who Deserve To Be In The Pro Football HOF
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