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Emlen Tunnell

EMLEN_TUNNELL
New York Giants Hall of Fame safety Emlen Tunnell (45) is shown in posed action in New York, in 1950. Tunnell became the first African American to play for the Giants. He was also the first African American to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Exact date is unknown. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

Tunnell was signed by the Giants as a free agent out of Iowa in 1948 and played 11 seasons for the team. Ignored in the NFL draft, Tunnell walked into the Giants office and asked Tim Mara for a tryout. Tunnell was the first African-American player signed by the Giants. Fifty-two years after playing his last game for the team, he still holds Giants records with 74 interceptions and 261 punt returns. In 1952, Tunnell gained more yards (923) on interceptions and kickoff returns than the NFL rushing leader did running the ball. He earned the nick-name "offense on defense." Tunnell was named All-NFL four times and played in nine Pro Bowls. Tunnell was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967.

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