Louis Creekmur (January 22, 1927 – July 5, 2009) was an NFL left offensive tackle/guard for the Detroit Lions from 1950-59. He was also used as a defensive lineman in critical situations. In 1996, he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Creekmur played football in an era in which protective equipment - especially helmets - were nowhere as sophisticated as they are today. During his high school and early pro years, anyone who wore a face mask was considered a "sissy." As a result, Lou Creekmur's nose was broken and reset some 13 times. His nose, like those of many players of the 1940s and 1950s, featured the distinctive "flat" look resulting from the repeated and cumulative destruction of its cartilage.
Apart from the broken noses, Creekmur is remarkable in that in ten full seasons he never missed a game. His single most serious injury was in the last game of the season in the mid-1950s in which he dislocated his shoulder. However, because it was in fact the last game and that year the Lions were eliminated from post-season play, his record stayed intact.
Creekmur's primary job was to protect his quarterback from being tackled by a large defensive end and give the QB time to set and throw a successful downfield pass. His favorite quarterback was the famous Bobby Layne. He is fond of telling the story about how Layne would frequently treat his front five linemen to expensive steak dinners, not only to thank them for their efforts at making him look good, but to encourage their loyalty.
Creekmur had been diagnosed post-mortem as having developed Chronic traumatic encephalopathy following a 30-year decline of cognition.
Creekmur played high school football at Woodbridge High School.
He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.
By Dean Hanley
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