Kenneth Houston

Born: Nov. 12, 1944 in Lufkin, Texas

     Kenneth Houston began high school at Lufkin playing in the band. He was offered an athletic scholarship at Prairie View College and was originally slated to play center before being moved by defensive coach "Hoo" Wright to linebacker.

 

     Houston wanted to quit school his junior year when his father suffered a stroke, but his family persuaded him to continue. Prairie View won the national championship three times, with Houston being named to several All-American teams. The Houston Oilers selected him in the ninth round of the 1967 AFL draft, and moved him to safety.

 

     Houston, who was first named to the All-Star squad in 1968, made All-Pro for 12 of his 14 seasons. In 1971, Houston intercepted nine passes for the Oilers and set a single-season record by returning four for touchdowns.

 

     Houston suffered injuries in 1972 and was traded to the Washington Redskins for five players, including two regulars. He tied a record in his first game for the club by intercepting two John Unitas passes for touchdowns to defeat the San Diego Chargers in the 1973 opener. Throughout his career, Houston intercepted 49 passes and returned a record 9 for touchdowns. He also played in 183 consecutive games, the most ever by a defensive back.

 

     Houston was declared a free agent in 1981 and returned to the Oilers as an assistant coach.

 

     In 1980 the NFL Players Association honored him with the Byron Whizzer White Award for Humanitarian Service. During his years with Washington, Houston was considered the best Redskins player, and he is ranked by some writers as the greatest strong safety ever. He was elected in 1986 to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.