Cecil “Cy” Souders, who played three years for the Detroit Lions and at age 100 was believed to be the oldest living NFL alum, has died.
Souders died Monday at his Hilliard, Ohio, home.
Well into his 90s, he still was watching football games and even breaking down plays, particularly Ohio State and Florida Atlantic, his wife of 81 years, Jean, told The News in 2019. He didn’t watch many Lions games, however.
“We don’t follow the Lions so much anymore; we don’t know the people anymore,” Jean Souders told The News. “One of these days, they’ll get it all together maybe. Who knows?”
Souders, a star end and tackle at Ohio State (he’s in the school’s athletics Hall of Fame), he was drafted in the 25th round by Washington in 1945, but he only played for the Lions, from 1947-49. His first season, he caught 15 passes for 184 yards and his only career touchdown.
He retired after 1949 because the NFL didn’t pay well and he had a family to support, Jean said in 2019.
He went to work as a salesman for the Suburban Motor Freight Company, eventually managing the Detroit terminal, before moving back to Columbus. He retired as executive vice president of sales and marketing with SMF in 1984, and eventually moved to Florida, before moving back to Ohio in 2019.
As Jean said, “We’re gonna be buried back there anyhow. So I’d like to be closer when the time comes!”
Jean, 98, and Cecil eloped in 1939, before Cecil, a star player at Bucyrus High School, suited up for the Buckeyes, after originally planning to play for LSU.
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During his Ohio State career, from 1942-46, he was a three-time All-American. He left Ohio State to join the U.S. Navy during World War II. When he was honorably discharged, he returned to Ohio State to finish his degree, and continued to play football. He originally joined Ohio State in 1939, and was on their “taxi” squad, but left to get married (their 82nd anniversary is Nov. 18). New coach Paul Brown reached out in 1942, and convinced Souders to give football another chance.
Cecil Souders is survived by Jean, daughter Sharon and grandson Randall Cohen.
Services are scheduled for Tuesday in Bucyrus, Ohio.