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Eddie Doyle Meador was a star defensive back for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL) throughout the 1960s. A graduate of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville (Pope County), Meador was the recipient of numerous honors and recognitions over the course of a twelve-year career in the NFL.
Eddie Doyle Meador was born on August 10, 1937, in Dallas, Texas, to Euell Meador, who was a mechanic, and Easter Meador. The family moved to Arkansas before his junior year, but a pre-season injury prevented him from playing for the school team that year. However, in 1954, as a senior, in his sole high school season, he led Russellville High School to the Region 3AA championship. A superb all-around athlete, he also lettered in basketball and track. Following his 1955 graduation, Meador wanted to play college football, but legendary Texas A&M coach Paul “Bear” Bryant deemed Meador—at less than 200 pounds and 5'11"—too small, as did the University of Tulsa. Instead, Meador attended Arkansas Tech University on a partial Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship, intending to serve in the U.S. Army following graduation.
While at Arkansas Tech, Meador played both offense and defense, and he was a kick return specialist. He also played basketball and ran track. During his college football career he rushed for over 3,400 yards, an achievement that leaves him second on the school’s all-time list. He also ranks second for scoring, with 259 points. These achievements earned him three-time All-Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) recognition, and his senior year, after leading the Arkansas Tech “Wonder Boys” to the AIC championship, he was named a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American. He capped his collegiate career with an appearance in the Optimist Bowl in Tucson, Arizona, a post-season contest in which players from smaller schools like Arkansas Tech had a chance to compete against Division I players. Following his 1959 graduation from Arkansas Tech, where he had earned a teaching degree, he turned his sights on playing in the NFL.
Meador was chosen by the Los Angeles Rams in the seventh round, the eightieth overall choice in the 1959 NFL draft. He immediately earned a place in the Rams starting line-up, playing cornerback, and he was named the team’s defensive rookie of the year. From there, he only got better, earning a Pro Bowl spot and second team All-Pro status his second year. For the rest of his professional career, the fierce tackler remained one of the finest defensive backs in the game. He earned a spot in the Pro Bowl six times, and he was twice named an All-Pro. He was a critical cog in the defense, led by the renowned Fearsome Foursome that took the Rams to the play-offs in both 1967 and 1969. Meador was named NFL Players Association president in 1969. After the 1970 season, Meador retired. Over the course of his time with the Rams, he intercepted forty-six passes, recovered eighteen opponent fumbles, and blocked ten punts, setting Rams team records.
Following his retirement, Meador moved from Los Angeles to Dallas. There, he went into the real estate business; at one point, he owned and operated four Century 21 offices. But the stress of the job eventually impacted his health, and he sold his offices. Looking for an outlet, he found a new passion. His second wife, Annette, had been a jewelry buyer for a Dallas jewelry store, and the two of them began to make their own jewelry and sell their work at various shows. Discovering that their equestrian jewelry was particularly popular, they started selling it at horse shows all over the country. The business, which has lasted for over thirty years, became a family enterprise, with their grandchildren also involved.
Over the years, Meador’s football accomplishments have been recognized in many ways. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1960s and was inducted into the NAIA Collegiate, Helms Athletic Foundation, and Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Meador also did a great deal of work for the Special Olympics.
Meador, who has four children, lives in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia just north of Roanoke.
For additional information:
“Crazy Canton Cuts: Ed Meador.” Bleacher Report. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/286573-crazy-canton-cuts-ed-meador (accessed May 24, 2018).
Crippen, Ken. “Where Are They Now: Eddie Meador.” NFLPost.com, September 10, 2013. http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/where-are-they-now-eddie-meador/ (accessed May 24, 2018).
Crowe, Jerry. “The Hall Truth about Ex-Ram Eddie Meador.” Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2009. Online at http://articles.latimes.com/print/2009/jun/15/sports/sp-crowe-nest15 (accessed May 24, 2018).
Troup, T. J. “Eddie Meador & the 1966 Los Angeles Rams.” Pro Football Journal, August 10, 2017. http://nflfootballjournal.blogspot.com/2017/08/eddie-meador-66-rams.html (accessed May 24, 2018).
William H. Pruden III
Last Updated 5/24/2018
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