Saskatchewan Roughriders

Ed McQuarters - Defensive End - University of Oklahoma - 1966-74

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excerpt - The Anguish Of A Team Divided Jack Olsen – Sports Illustrated July 1968

The case of Ed McQuarters continues to baffle the black Cardinals. McQuarters was a reserve defensive tackle, and he impressed his Negro teammates highly. "He was a whole lot better than lots of other tackles I'd seen," says Bobby Williams, "and at Oklahoma he was one of the greatest linemen anybody'd ever seen." McQuarters had the quickness and instincts of a defensive tackle, but he was ill-equipped for the position to which he was switched: defensive end. "He was only 6'1"," says Ernie McMillan, "and he didn't have a feeling for the position. He was shorter than every guy he played against. The guy would straighten up and Ed would be lost. At end, he didn't have a chance, trying to take the job from great players like Joe Robb and Don Brumm. But in the middle of the line his quickness paid off and he could work."

 

McQuarters was cut from the squad in his second year and ended up playing in the Canadian League, where he was named Most Outstanding Lineman for 1967. "Don't ask me," says McMillan. "I can't explain it. Even some of the most prejudiced white players said they didn't understand that one."

 

Head Coach Charley Winner says "We just didn't feel that Ed was good enough. He hadn't shown us anything. He didn't seem to have the temperament. It was a toss-up which guy we kept, and we let Ed go. Ed was a real fine guy, no troublemaker, but I don't regret letting him go. This is the sort of thing that will come up because Ed is a Negro. Nothing has been said about the white boys we let go who were in pretty much the same situation."

 

The McQuarters case proves neither that the Cardinals have a quota system nor that Negroes are stacked into certain positions while white players get their jobs automatically, as is so often the case on college football teams. But it is suggestive of both possibilities. As one white Cardinal says, "The front office has nobody but itself to blame if people run around accusing them of cutting Ed McQuarters for racial reasons. If there weren't so many other racial things going on here, the thought wouldn't have entered anybody's head. The Negroes would think he was just a player that they let get away. It's possible the Negroes are only being touchy. But who the hell can blame them for being touchy the way they're treated around here?"

 

excerpt - Vancouver Sun - Jan 30, 2009 - Rob Vanstone

Roughriders fans could also thank the Cardinals in 1966, when St. Louis released defensive tackle Ed McQuarters. He quickly resurfaced in Regina and, as a first-year CFLer, helped the Roughriders win their first-ever Grey Cup.

 

“Ed was one of the quickest defensive linemen I have ever seen anywhere in football,’’ former Cardinals teammate Dave Meggyesy wrote in his 1970 book, Out Of Their League.

 

Meggyesy went on to opine that, “in my opinion, and in the opinion of many other veterans, McQuarters would have been a great defensive tackle in the National Football League.’’

 

Instead, McQuarters became a dis-Card. The misappraisal stands as one of the Cardinals’ myriad mistakes.

McQuarters went on to become a Canadian Football Hall of Famer. And the Cardinals went on to become, uh, the Cardinals. Enough said.

 

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