James S. Grabowski (born September 9, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former American football player and broadcaster. Grabowski played collegiately at the University of Illinois and professionally for the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, and served as an analyst on University of Illinois football radio broadcasts for nearly 30 years, retiring after the 2006-2007 season.
Grabowski attended the University of Illinois out of Taft High School in Chicago. At Illinois, Grabowski was a star running back, and was named Associated Press All-American in both 1964 and 1965. As a sophomore, Grabowski was named Most Valuable Player of the 1964 Rose Bowl, having led the Fighting Illini to 17-7 victory over the University of Washington. Grabowski received many awards and recognitions after his senior season in 1965, including finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting, being named The Sporting News co-player of the year and Back of the Year by the Washington Touchdown Club, and receiving the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the Big Ten Most Valuable Player. Grabowski finished as the all-time leader in rushing yards in Big Ten history. Grabowski was also an outstanding student at the University of Illinois, having been named GTE Academic All-American in 1964 and 1965, and graduated with a degree in finance in 1966
Grabowski is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, inducted in 1995. He has also been inducted into the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. Additionally, Grabowski was named to the University of Illinois "All-Century" team. He is also a member of the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.
Professional playing career[edit | edit source]
After graduation, Grabowski was selected in the first round of the 1966 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, with the ninth overall selection. (Grabowski was also taken as the first overall pick in the 1966 American Football League Draft, by the Miami Dolphins.) Grabowski went on to play five seasons for the Packers, and was known as one football's "Gold Dust Twins" (along with team mate, Donny Anderson) in the late sixties. Grabowski finished his professional career by playing a single season for the Chicago Bears in 1971. Over his six seasons in the NFL, Grabowski rushed for 1,731 yards and scored 11 touchdowns (8 rushing, 3 receiving).
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