Nottingham was drafted in the 17th round of the 1971 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts, the next-to-the-last player picked. He spent two full years with the team, and was traded midway through the 1973 NFL season to the Dolphins. He was part of the Dolphins team that won Super Bowl VIII over the Minnesota Vikings 24-7. He spent the remainder of his career backing up Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris, although he got a large number of carries, and finished in the top ten of all running backs for rushing touchdowns during the 1974, 1975, and 1976 seasons. He retired after the 1977 NFL season, and finished his career with 2,496 yards and 34 touchdowns on 611 carries, as well as 67 catches for 502 yards. The Don Nottingham Cup is given to the top Kent State offensive player at the end of spring practice.