In this edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we pay tribute to a Lion legend who made a name for himself during the franchise’s darkest days of the 1940s.
23. Alex Wojciechowicz
Center / Linebacker. 1938-46 Detroit; 1946-50 Philadelphia Eagles
His talent was a big as his name was long. The 6-foot, 235 pound “Wojie” first gained fame as a two-time All-American center, alongside guard Vince Lombardi, while anchoring Fordham’s famed “Seven Blocks of Granite” line. He was the Lions’ first-round draft choice in 1938, and claimed the starting center spot in his very first game as a pro. Throughout his Detroit career, he was one of the few bright spots on some of the poorest teams in Lion history. A tremendous blocker and tackler, Alex was a two-way star throughout his Motor City days. As a linebacker, he intercepted seven passes during the 1944 season. That number remained a Lion record until Don Doll picked off eleven in 1949.
While only 6-feet tall, Alex had a leg-span of 5-feet, 4-inches, which gave him tremendous balance and leverage as a blocker. Because of his pass coverage skills, he would likely excel in today’s game as an outside linebacker. When the Lions started the 1946 season with three-straight losses, Alex was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. Eagle coach, and defensive wizard, Earle “Greasy” Neale made Wojie a full-time linebacker. Alex remained at that post through the 1950 season, helping the Eagles win back-to-back NFL titles in 1948 and ‘49.
Amazingly, Wojciechowicz never made an All-NFL team during his career. However, it shouldn’t be considered a knock against him. The NFL only selected an offensive all-pro team before 1950, and Alex was constantly overlooked in favor of future Hall of Fame centers Mel Hein and Bulldog Turner. Although he may have been underappreciated in his day, Wojie received the ultimate honor in 1968 when he was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.