On Friday night, the football world received some bad news when a beloved former player passed away.
Longtime American Football League player Bill Groman passed away, his former college said in a statement. He was 83 years old.
Groman kicked off his collegiate football career at Heidelberg, where he played under Hall of Fame coach Paul Hoernemann. He was an All-American in 1957, his senior campaign, when he led the nation with 19 touchdown receptions.
After a standout collegiate football career, Groman took his talents to the AFL where he became an immediate star. He signed with the Houston Oilers, where he played the first three seasons of his professional career.
The Heidelberg community is saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Groman ‘58.
A Tiffin native, Bill was an All-American here before turning pro.
He still holds the NFL record for receiving yards by a rookie (1,473 in 14 games with HOU).
— Heidelberg Athletics (@BergAthletics) June 18, 2020
During his rookie season, Groman racked up 72 catches for 1,473 yards and 12 touchdowns. He still holds the record for the most receiving yards in a rookie season – a record he set 60 years ago.
Groman hollowed up an historic rookie season with 50 catches for 1,175 yards and a league-best 17 touchdowns in 1961. Unfortunately, injuries later derailed his career after an impressive opening two seasons.
Following the 1961 season, never had more than 27 catches, more than 437 yards or more than three touchdowns in a season. During his six seasons in the league, he helped his teams to four championships.
Following his playing career, Groman became a scout for several different teams. He scouted for the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons.
Our thoughts are with the Groman family.