The first and only Washington University in St. Louis player in the Hall went on to an 11-year NFL career.


Shelby Jordan, a 2013 College Football Hall of Fame inductee who starred as a linebacker from 1969-72 at Washington University in St. Louis (MO), passed away Sept. 9. He was 70.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Shelby Jordan who dominated opponents in the divisional ranks at Wash U in St. Louis before an impressive 11-year pro career,” NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “Starting at Wash U as a night student, Shelby Jordan took full advantage of the opportunity, excelling on the field and in the classroom. He’s a great example of how football can open unlimited possibilities for those who play the game. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time of loss.”

A brooding 6-foot-7, 270-pound tackler, Jordan led WUSL in tackles for three consecutive seasons en route to being named a Kodak First Team All-American during his senior campaign. The 1972 team captain and Bears MVP is considered the greatest defensive player in school history, and he was named to the school’s 1990 All-Centennial football team.

The consummate student-athlete during his collegiate career, Jordan remains the first and only Bear player in history inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Equally impressive in the classroom, the pre-med student was a member of the Washington University Career Scholarship Program, and he graduated with a degree in psychology.

Drafted in the seventh round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers, he eventually became a six-year starter for the New England Patriots at offensive tackle and later won Super Bowl XVIII with the Los Angeles Raiders.

Jordan and his wife, Donzella, founded a Los Angeles-based nonprofit economic-development corporation to provide affordable urban housing and services for families and seniors. He received numerous awards for his work within the community, and he was named a WUSL Distinguished Alumni in 2009. Jordan was an inaugural inductee in his alma mater’s sports hall of fame in 1991. Born January 23, 1952, he attended East St. Louis (St. Louis, Ill.) High School.