Herb Lusk

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Herb Lusk
No. 32
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born:(1953-02-19)February 19, 1953
Memphis, Tennessee
Died:September 19, 2022(2022-09-19) (aged 69)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school:Seaside (CA)
College:Long Beach State
NFL Draft:1976 / Round: 10 / Pick: 273
Career history
Player stats at PFR

Herbert H. Lusk (February 19, 1953 – September 19, 2022) was an American professional football player who was a running back for three seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1978, having played college football for the Long Beach State 49ers.

Early life[edit]

Lusk was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on February 19, 1953. He attended Seaside High School in Seaside, California.[1] He initially studied at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) from 1972 to 1973,[2] before transferring to California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).[1] He played for the 49ers from 1974 to 1975.[3][4] He started his custom of praying after scoring a touchdown during his senior year,[4] in which he led the Pacific Coast Athletic Association in touchdowns (16), points (96), rushing attempts (310), rushing yards (1596), rushing touchdowns (13), yards from scrimmage (1658), and touchdowns from scrimmage (16).[3] Lusk was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the tenth round (273rd overall) of the 1976 NFL Draft.[1]

Professional career[edit]

Lusk made his NFL debut with the Eagles on September 12, 1976, at the age of 23, in a 27–7 loss against the Dallas Cowboys.[5] In the third game of his career on September 27, 1976, he fumbled the ball with 12 seconds remaining in the first half after he opted to run instead of running out the clock. This led to the Eagles relinquishing their 10–3 lead over the Washington Redskins, with Philadelphia ultimately losing the game in sudden-death overtime.[6][7] He played in 14 games (1 start) during his rookie season and recorded 254 rushing yards, 13 receptions, and 119 receiving yards.[1] He made the seventh longest rushing attempt in the league (70 yards) the following year,[1] and became the first NFL player to kneel in the endzone after a touchdown and pray on October 9, 1977.[8][9] This custom gained him the nickname "The Praying Tailback".[8][10] He scored two other touchdowns that season, to go along with 229 rushing yards, 5 receptions, and 102 receiving yards in 11 games.[1] He played just 3 games during his final year in the NFL,[1] and attended one day of training camp in July 1979,[8] before retiring from football at the age of 26 to become a minister.[9][11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Lusk was married to Vickey until his death. Together, they had three children: Danuelle, Laiah, and Herbert III.[13] Lusk was inducted into the CSULB Hall of Fame in October 2005,[14][15] and was also enshrined in MPC's Lobo Hall of Fame.[2]

After retiring from professional football, Lusk returned to college at Gwynedd Mercy University and Reformed Episcopal Seminary to finish his degree in theology. [16][8][11][17] He then became the pastor of the Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia, starting in 1982.[8][18] He oversaw an increase in the number of congregants from 27 members to over 1,500 by 2006.[9] He also served as team chaplain to the Eagles.[13] A supporter of the Republican Party,[13] Lusk delivered the invocation at the party's national convention in 2000.[8][19] His church was later given $1 million in federal funds to run a program assisting low-income Philadelphians.[19] He also addressed the World Meeting of Families 2015 held in Philadelphia.[4][20]

Lusk died on September 19, 2022, at his home in Philadelphia. He was 69, and suffered from cancer prior to his death.[13][20][21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Herb Lusk Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on November 12, 2021. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Lobo Hall of Fame". MPC Foundation. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Herb Lusk College Stats". Sports-Reference.com. Archived from the original on November 29, 2021. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Dallas, Kelsey (September 7, 2022). "Meet Herb Lusk, the first NFL player to pray after scoring". Deseret News. Salt Lake City. Archived from the original on September 8, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  5. ^ "Herb Lusk 1976 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  6. ^ Didinger, Ray (October 10, 1988). "For Birds, Zany Days and Mondays Go in Hand". Philadelphia Daily News. p. 90. ProQuest 1833111239. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 21, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  7. ^ "Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles – September 27th, 1976". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. September 27, 1976. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved September 21, 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Goldenbach, Alan (September 28, 2007). "After NFL's First Prayer, Religion Touched Down". Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 14, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  9. ^ a b c Hiskey, Michelle (February 4, 2006). "Q&A – Herb Lusk II: first prayer Displays of faith on football field started 3 decades ago, when Herb Lusk II kneeled". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ProQuest 337255013. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  10. ^ "Didinger: 'The Praying Tailback' Makes History vs. Giants". Philadelphia Eagles. October 11, 2018. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 21, 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Sports Roundup: Football". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. July 13, 1979. p. 36. ProQuest 387058163. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  12. ^ "Class of 2005". Press-Telegram. Long Beach, California. October 19, 2005. ProQuest 382029618. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  13. ^ a b c d Wood, Anthony R. (September 20, 2021). "The Rev. Herb Lusk, former Eagles player, team chaplain, and pastor, has died: 'The end zone became my pulpit'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on September 20, 2021. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  14. ^ "Herb Lusk (2005) – Hall of Fame". Long Beach State Beach. Archived from the original on January 18, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  15. ^ "Eight new members were inducted during the 20th Annual Cal State Long Beach Hall of Fame Ceremony". Press-Telegram. Long Beach, California. October 20, 2005. ProQuest 382031223. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  16. ^ name=Silliman>"Died: HerbLusk II: Praying Tailback who gave up football for ministry". September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 29, 2022.
  17. ^ Avery, Ron (January 11, 1995). "Ex-Bird Soaring for Others: Rev. Lusk'S Church Thrives". Philadelphia Daily News. p. 8. ProQuest 1840869560. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  18. ^ "Philly church disregards coronavirus protocols, plans in-person Easter services". KYW. April 8, 2020. Archived from the original on April 9, 2020. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  19. ^ a b Wallsten, Peter; Hamburger, Tom; Riccardi, Nicholas (January 18, 2005). "Bush Rewarded by Black Pastors' Faith". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 17, 2021. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  20. ^ a b "'Our city lost a true friend': Former Eagles running back Rev. Herbert Lusk dies at 69". WTXF-TV. September 20, 2022. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  21. ^ "Fmr. Eagles running back, team chaplain Herb Lusk dies at age 69". WPVI-TV. September 20, 2022. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022.