In this edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we pay tribute to one of the anchors of the Lions’ great offensive lines during their 1950s and 60s glory days.
21. Harley Sewell
Offensive Guard / Linebacker. 1953-62 Detroit; 1963 Los Angeles Rams
A stalwart on the great Lion teams of the 1950’s and early 60’s, Harley was the number-one draft choice for Detroit out of the University of Texas in 1953. He moved immediately into the starting spot at right guard as a rookie, and would remain there for the next ten campaigns. A tireless worker, Harley was one of the toughest and most conditioned Lions of his era. He once said at the peak of his career that, “(I) never feel like I have a job cinched.” While that attitude may have served to motivate him, his abilities were never questioned by either teammates or his coaches. “Harley has hustled for us every minute since he joined the Lions,” said his former line coach Aldo Forte.
The 6-foot-1, 230 pound Sewell was a complete guard, equally skilled at either pass or run blocking. He was at his best when leading the running back on sweeps, inside traps, and counter plays. Harley’s quick feet and acceleration allowed him to clear out larger defenders before they had time to counter his attack. Sewell was also a standout on special teams throughout his career. A regular on the punting and kickoff teams, he was once credited with 85% of the team’s tackles on the kickoff unit one season. Harley was a four-time Pro Bowl nominee during his career, making the season-ending trip after the 1957, ‘58, ‘59, and ‘62 campaigns.
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