NFL mourns the passing of quarterback and former Steeler Earl Morrall

Earl Morrall (left) sitting with former coach Don Shula (right) - Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports

It is being widely reported by news sources that former NFL quarterback Earl Morrall passed away Thursday morning at the age of 79.

Many fans will remember Earl Morrall as a quarterback for the Miami Dolphins during their perfect season in 1972. He was the backup QB to Bob Griese who played nine games that year up until the AFC championship game. Some as the quarterback of the Baltimore Colts who lost in Superbowl III to Joe Namath but few will remember he also spent time with the Steelers during his 21 years in the league.

Morrall was drafted in the first round of the 1956 draft by the San Francisco 49ers but was traded along with Guard Mike Sandusky the following year to the Steelers in return for two first round picks and a linebacker named Marv Matuszak, who himself had been a Pro Bowl Player in 1953 with the Steelers and would be again in 57 with the 49ers.

Despite something of a blockbuster trade by today's standard Morrall would only last just over a year in Pittsburgh before being traded in 1958 to the Detroit Lions in exchange for quarterback Bobby Layne. This coming off a Pro Bowl campaign in 1957, one of only two such honors he would receive over the length of his career.

The other player in that trade Sandusky would go on to have a nine year career in Pittsburgh.

After his playing days Morrall spent time as the quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami where he would mentor such names as Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde.

Over the course of his long career, dressing for six different teams, Morrall played in 255 games, completing 1,379 passes for 20,809 yards and 161 touchdowns and was a part of three Superbowl winning teams.

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