By Joe Torosian
When you’re young you have greater attachments to your teams, and to the players on those teams.
Which is why a sick sadness strikes you when you think of one of your players moving on.
I’m the father of three daughters, and for one summer—in 2004—my oldest was all in on the Dodgers run to the National League West flag. She watched games with me, followed the team, began to know the players…and then….at the end of July they traded Paul Lo Duca to the Florida Marlins.
She was crushed, and walked away from the game. Four women in the house…and Dad watches all sporting events alone.
On this day in 1976, I didn’t walk away from football fandom, but I was crushed. Because out of the blue this thing called the NFL Expansion Draft hit and Ken Geddes, Eddie McMillan, and Willie McGee were no longer Rams.
Looking back, I get it. McGee was a special teams/return guy. Geddes had been a starter, but Jim Youngblood was ready to become a starter. McMillan had been a starter, but the club already had Rod Perry, Monte Jackson, and a week later the Rams would draft Pat Thomas.
But in that moment, on this day at the age of 11, emotionally, it was a like a lightening strike. A true crusher.
Drafted: 7/175/1970—Detroit… 6-3/235
The Lions waived Geddes and he signed with the Rams the following summer. Activated from the Taxi Squad, he started the last two games of the 1972 season and remained a starter through 1975.
When taken by Seattle in the expansion draft, he was 30. He started two years for the Seahawks and was released after the 1978 season. He spent training camp with the Redskins in 1979 before being waived in August and that was all she wrote.
Eddie McMillan—Florida St.
Drafted: 4/95/1973—Rams… 6-0/189
Great story. On January 29th, 1973, the Rams sent Pete Beathard and Willie Ellison to Kansas City for Bob Stein, and a 2nd (#42—Jim Youngblood) & 4th (#95 Eddie McMillan)
God Bless, Don Klosterman!
(Note: Ellison—2 seasons, 15 games, 525yds & 4Tds later—is out of the league)
The next day, January 30th the Rams draft Jim Youngblood and Eddie McMillan.
McMillan started three seasons for the Rams…playing in 42 games including playoffs and registered seven picks.
Taken by Seattle, he misses a game in two seasons and is reunited with Chuck Knox in Buffalo in 1978. At the age of 27 his career is over.
Willie McGee—Alcorn St.
Drafted: 5/123/1973—Chargers… 5-11/179
McGee spent 1973 with San Diego before joining the Rams for 1974 & 1975 seasons
Used mostly as a kick returner, McGee caught six passes for the Rams in ’75…Including five against San Francisco in the 49ers 24-23 victory in the Coliseum on Steve Mick-Mayer’s 54-yard field goal…(November 9, 1975—Listened to that one on the radio in the park. Game was blacked out—and it sucked!)
Taken in the expansion draft by the Buccaneers, McGee was traded to the 49ers along with Bruce Elia and a Second round pick (#57 overall) for Steve Spurrier…
McGee plays 1976 and 1977 in San Francisco…catching 13 passes, 4 touchdowns, 20.7 yards per catch…
In 1978, Bill Walsh lands in San Francisco, and trades RB Del Williams to the Dolphins for Freddie Solomon, a first round pick that became Dan Bunz, and odds and ends.
With Solomon in house, McGee was released and spends his final NFL season with the Detroit Lions.