Show Your Support for Ray Donaldson
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee invites the public to select who should advance to the next round of consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. Vote now for Rome’s Ray Donaldson!
FACEBOOK PAGE: Ray Donaldson Goes To Canton
RAY DONALDSON TO BE HONORED AT ROME-CARROLLTON GAME
When the top-ranked Rome Wolves take the field at Barron Stadium for a huge region showdown with No. 4 Carrollton on Friday night, they will do so with the man who honed his skills on the same ground and is now in contention to be immortalized in the NFL’s Hall of Fame.
Ray Donaldson, a graduate of East Rome High who became an All-SEC center at Georgia and went on to become the NFL’s most dominant center for 17 seasons, will serve as the Wolves’ honorary captain for the game and be recognized before and during the game by the entire Rome community.
Last week, Donaldson was one of 106 modern-era NFL players nominated for potential induction into the Pro Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Fans in Rome, Georgia and the nation now have the opportunity to cast a ballot for Donaldson in an on-line Fan Voting process that mirrors the same process the Hall’s 48-person committee will hold to narrow the field down to 25 semifinalists. In January, 15 finalists will be named.
A pre-game tailgate to welcome Donaldson back to his hometown will kick the evening off at 5:30 p.m., with his family and friends, his East Rome teammates and coaches joining the family, friends and fans of the Wolves for the gathering.
When the Wolves’ captains make their way to midfield for the coin toss, Donaldson will join them for the ceremony and between the first and second quarter, he will take the spotlight on the field to be honored for his remarkable career.
At East Rome, Donaldson was a standout in football and basketball but it was on the gridiron where he quickly drew notice, earning All-American and All-State honors. He went on to play at Georgia where he arrived as a linebacker but due to injuries was moved to center, and be named an All-American and All-SEC standout.
Drafted by the Colts in the second round of the 1980 NFL Draft, Donaldson quickly emerged as the nucleus of team’s offense, became the NFL’s first African-American to start at center and went on to play for the Colts in Baltimore and Indianapolis for 13 seasons. He ranks third in the team’s history in games played (184) and to this day is still tied for second-place all-time for years of service with the team, trailing only Johnny Unitas who spent 17 years with the franchise.
Donaldson went on to play for two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, then was signed by the Dallas Cowboys in 1995 where he helped the team win Super Bowl XXX and in 1996 closed out his career in Dallas being an All-Pro Bowl selection.
All told, Donaldson played in 244 games during his NFL career, starting in 228 of them.
Donaldson was enshrined in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 – he was the first person to be born and raised in Rome to enter the Hall – and in 2010 was inducted into the Rome-Floyd Sports Hall of Fame.
Article by Jim O’Hara