James Lofton

American football player and coach (born 1956)

American football player
James Lofton
refer to caption
Lofton on the Packers
No. 80, 86, 22
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1956-07-05) July 5, 1956 (age 68)
Fort Ord, California, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:187 lb (85 kg)
Career information
High school:Washington
(Los Angeles, California)
College:Stanford
NFL draft:1978 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
Career history
As a player:
  • Green Bay Packers (1978–1986)
  • Los Angeles Raiders (1987–1988)
  • Buffalo Bills (1989–1992)
  • Los Angeles Rams (1993)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (1993)
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:764
Receiving yards:14,004
Touchdowns:75
Player stats at PFR
Pro Football Hall of Fame

James David Lofton (born July 5, 1956)[1] is an American former professional football player and coach. He played in the National Football League (NFL) as a wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers (1978–1986), Los Angeles Raiders (1987–1988), the Buffalo Bills (1989–1992), Los Angeles Rams (1993) and Philadelphia Eagles (1993). He was also the NCAA champion in the long jump in 1978 while attending Stanford University.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest wide receivers of all time,[2][3][4] Lofton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.[5][6][1] After his playing career ended, he became a wide receivers coach for the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

Early life

Lofton prepped at George Washington High School in Los Angeles, California, where he played quarterback and safety.[7]

College career

Lofton played college football at Stanford University. As a senior in 1977, he received 57 passes for 1,010 yards (17.72 yards per reception average) with 14 touchdowns, and was an AP & NEA second-team All-American selection. Lofton was a member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity, and earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering in 1978.[8]

Track and field

Lofton won the long jump at the 1978 NCAA Track and Field Championships with a wind-aided jump of 26 feet 11¾ inches. He won the long jump at the 1974 CIF California State Meet with a jump of 24 feet 3½ inches after placing sixth in this meet the year before.[9] He was also a sprinter of note, with a best of 20.5 in the 200 meter. He has been an active participant in Masters track and field since 1997.

Professional career

Lofton was drafted in the first round (sixth overall) of the 1978 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. He was named to the NFL Pro Bowl eight times[1] (seven with the Packers, one with the Bills). He was also named to four All-Pro teams. He also played in three Super Bowls during his career with the Bills.[10] Lofton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

In his 16 NFL seasons, Lofton caught 764 passes for 14,004 yards and 75 touchdowns. He averaged 20 yards per catch or more in five seasons, leading the league in 1983 and 1984 with an average of 22.4 and 22 yards respectively. He also rushed 32 times for 246 yards and one touchdown.

Lofton is the first NFL player to record 14,000 yards receiving and was the second (one game after Drew Hill) to score a touchdown in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. During his nine seasons in Green Bay, Lofton played in seven Pro Bowls and left as the team's all-time leading receiver with 9,656 yards (since broken by Donald Driver). On April 13, 1987, he was traded for two draft picks to the Raiders in the wake of his charge for second degree sexual assault. A month later, he was found not guilty by Brown County Circuit Court jury. Two mediocre seasons (a combined 69 catches in 28 games) with the Raiders followed before he was signed as a free agent by Buffalo in 1989. He was to sign a two-year deal with Oakland in 1993 but instead joined the Los Angeles Rams, where he played just one game before finishing the season with Philadelphia.[11][12][13][14]

On the retirement of Steve Largent, Lofton became the NFL's active leader in receiving yards at the start of 1990, through to his retirement in 1993. In 1991, Lofton became the oldest player to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season (since broken by Jerry Rice). On October 21, of that same year, Lofton became the oldest player to record 200 yards receiving as well as 200 yards from scrimmage in a game (35 years, 108 days). He is also the 2nd oldest player to have 200+ all-purpose yards in a game behind Mel Gray, (35 years, 204 days). He was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1999.[15]

Coaching career

Lofton became the wide receiver coach for the San Diego Chargers in 2002 and continued that role until he was fired on January 22, 2008. Early in his coaching career, Lofton watched Robert Woods in a high school track meet, he noted that he would be an incredible NFL prospect. In 2005 at the NFL draft, Lofton played catch with Desean Jackson, noting he was going to be an excellent deep ball threat. Lofton was later announced as a candidate to become head coach for Oakland Raiders in 2007 but the job would later go to Lane Kiffin. In 2008, the Raiders hired him as their wide receivers coach.[16] On January 13, 2009, Lofton was let go by the Oakland Raiders and replaced by Sanjay Lal.

Broadcasting career

Lofton served as a color analyst and sideline reporter for NFL coverage on Westwood One radio from 1999–2001. In 2009, he re-joined the network to team with Dave Sims and later Kevin Kugler on Sunday Night Football broadcasts. He moved to a television position on the NFL on CBS in 2017,[17] replacing the departing Solomon Wilcots.[18] He has been the game analyst paired with Andrew Catalon since then.[19]

NFL career statistics

Regular season

Year Team Games Receiving
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
1978 GB 16 16 46 818 17.8 58 6
1979 GB 16 16 54 968 17.9 52 4
1980 GB 16 16 71 1,226 17.3 47 4
1981 GB 16 16 71 1,294 18.2 75 8
1982 GB 9 9 35 696 19.9 80 4
1983 GB 16 16 58 1,300 22.4 74 8
1984 GB 16 16 62 1,361 22.0 79 7
1985 GB 16 16 69 1,153 16.7 56 4
1986 GB 15 15 64 840 13.1 36 4
1987 RAI 12 12 41 880 21.5 49 5
1988 RAI 16 16 28 549 19.6 57 0
1989 BUF 12 2 8 166 20.8 47 3
1990 BUF 16 14 35 712 20.3 71 4
1991 BUF 15 15 57 1,072 18.8 77 8
1992 BUF 16 15 51 786 15.4 50 6
1993 LARams 1 0 1 16 16.0 16 0
PHI 9 2 13 167 12.8 32 0
Career 233 212 764 14,004 18.3 80 75

Personal life

Lofton and his wife Beverly have three children including David who also played college football at Stanford.[20][citation needed] Lofton's cousin, Kevin Bass, was a Major League Baseball player.[citation needed]

In October 1984, a dancer at the Marquee Club in Milwaukee accused James Lofton and his Packers teammate Eddie Lee Ivery of sexual assault. Lofton and Ivery asserted that the acts were consensual. Neither player ended up being charged in the incident due to a lack of evidence. Two years later, Lofton was charged with second-degree sexual assault following an incident in the stairwell of a Green Bay nightclub. He was found not guilty of that charge.[21]

References

  1. ^ a b c "The Life And Career Of James Lofton (Complete Story)". Pro Football History. February 18, 2022. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  2. ^ Kenyon, David (October 3, 2018). "The Top 10 NFL Wide Receivers of All Time". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on April 5, 2022. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  3. ^ Tallent, Aaron (February 18, 2022). "25 Greatest Wide Receivers in NFL History". AthlonSports.com. Archived from the original on April 5, 2022. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  4. ^ Patuto, Greg (May 15, 2020). "Ranking The 20 Greatest NFL Wide Receivers Of All Time". ClutchPoints. Archived from the original on February 7, 2022. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  5. ^ "Hall of Famers » JAMES LOFTON". Profootballhof.com. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  6. ^ "Las Vegas Raiders". Las Vegas Raiders. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  7. ^ "HOFer James Lofton Inspires". Calhisports.com. November 15, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  8. ^ "James Lofton". Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  9. ^ "California State Meet Results - 1915 to present". Hank Lawson. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
  10. ^ @jfritz20 (June 2, 2009). "Top 50 All-Time Bills, No. 47: WR James Lofton". Buffalo Rumblings. Retrieved May 15, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Heisler, Mark (April 14, 1987). "Raiders Acquire Lofton From Green Bay : L.A. Disregards Fact the All-Pro Wide Receiver Is Awaiting Trial". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  12. ^ Heisler, Mark (May 23, 1987). "Lofton Is Acquitted of Sexual Assault by Green Bay Jury". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  13. ^ Smith, Timothy W. (January 19, 1992). "PRO FOOTBALL; The Decline and Return of James Lofton". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  14. ^ Springer, Steve (May 8, 1993). "Lofton to Become a Raider--Again : Pro football: He agrees to two-year, $1.8-million deal to rejoin team. Rams also were interested in receiver". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 13, 2024.
  15. ^ Christl, Cliff. "James Lofton". Packers.com. Archived from the original on May 25, 2023. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  16. ^ Williamson, Bill (January 13, 2009). "James Lofton - AFC West Blog - ESPN". Espn.go.com. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  17. ^ "James Lofton". FOX 5 San Diego. January 4, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  18. ^ Putterman, Alex (May 10, 2017). "James Lofton joins CBS as an NFL game analyst, while Tony Gonzalez jumps to Fox". Awful Announcing.
  19. ^ Connors, Greg. "Former Bill James Lofton joins CBS's NFL lineup as networks announce broadcast teams," The Buffalo (NY) News, Tuesday, August 15, 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  20. ^ "A Tale of Two Teams," Stanford Magazine (Stanford University), November/December 2006. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  21. ^ "Milwaukee Buzz: Milwaukees most notorious sex scandals". Onmilwaukee.com. Retrieved May 15, 2013.

External links

  • James Lofton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • Career statistics and player information from NFL.com · Pro Football Reference
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