Legendary college football coach Eddie Robinson did much more than just help open doors for his players from Grambling.
Robinson, who compiled a 408-165-15 record in his 57 years (1941-97) prowling the Tigers' sideline, died at 88 on April 3. He coached more than 200 players who were either drafted or signed by the NFL, 99 of whom played at least one game.
Four of his players are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, including Buck Buchanan, Willie Davis, Willie Brown and Charlie Joiner. Another ex-Tiger, Ernie Ladd, spent eight seasons in the American Football League but is better remembered for his career that followed. Ladd, who died on March 10, wrestled as the villainous "Big Cat" dozens of times in Buffalo and in 1995 was inducted into the World Wrestling Federation (now Entertainment) Hall of Fame.
During the 1960s, the American Football League included from eight to 10 teams, which collectively signed 18 of Robinson's players, according to the Web site remembertheafl.com.
The NFL, which had from 13 to 16 teams during the same period, signed 14. So the AFL had about two Grambling men per team, the NFL had about one per team.
Here are the seven most significant fantasy football players Robinson sent into the pros during his 45 winning seasons at Grambling:
*1-WR Joiner: Spent 17 seasons in the pros, including 11 with the San Diego Chargers, and made it to three Pro Bowls. Caught 750 passes for 12,146 yards and 65 touchdowns, including 213 grabs in an incredible three-year span (1979-81).
*2-RB Paul "Tank" Younger: First from a black school to play in the NFL (in 1949) was also the first black to participate in an NFL All-Star Game, earning Pro Bowl status five times in 10 seasons, nine of which were spent with the Rams. He carried 770 times for 3,640 yards and 34 TDs and caught 100 passes for 1,167 yards.
*3-WR Sammy White: The 10-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowler was the 1976 Offensive Rookie of the Year and caught 393 passes for 6,400 yards and 50 TDs -- including 10 as a rookie -- with the Minnesota Vikings.
*4-QB Doug Williams: The first black QB to play in a Super Bowl was also that game's MVP, throwing for 340 yards and four TDs as the Washington Redskins blitzed the Denver Broncos, 42-10, in the championship game of the 1987 season. Williams spent nine years in the NFL, the first five in Tampa Bay, and passed for 16,998 yards with 100 TDs and rushed for 15 more scores.
*5-WR Jake Reed: Finished second in the NFL in receiving yardage with 1,320 in 1996, one of his nine seasons in Minnesota. Caught 650 passes for 6,999 yards and 36 TDs after exploding on to the scene as a fourth-year player in '94.
*6-WR Frank Lewis: In 13 seasons, seven with the Pittsburgh Steelers and six with the Buffalo Bills, he caught 397 passes for 6,724 yards and 40 scores. He made it to the Pro Bowl as a Bill in 1981, which was his best year with 70 grabs for 1,244 yards. He's ninth on the Buffalo career list with 269 catches for 4,638 yards and 24 TDs from 1979-86.
*7-QB James Harris: The second black QB ever to start in the AFL (Denver's Marlin Briscoe was the first in 1968) spent his first three years with the Bills (1969-71). A few of Harris' completions in 1969 went to Briscoe, who had been traded to the Bills and converted to a receiver. Harris was named the MVP of the 1974 Pro Bowl, when he represented the Rams. In 11 seasons, he threw for 7,866 yards and 44 TDs.
Be an early riser
Patriot's Day will be anything but a celebration for fantasy owners if they don't remember to set their lineups ahead of their normal schedule.
Monday's annual morning game, this year matching the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, is scheduled to begin at 10:05 a.m.
So if your league allows only weekly lineup changes before the start of Monday's games, be sure to put it on your to-do list some time later today.