John Gonzaga
No. 76, 79     
Offensive lineman / Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1933-03-06)March 6, 1933
Place of birth: Martinez, California
Date of death: May 17, 2007(2007-05-17) (aged 74)
Place of death: West Bloomfield Township, Michigan
Career information
College: None
Undrafted in 1956
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* San Francisco 49ers ( 1956 1959)
Career highlights and awards
Games played     132
Stats at

John Louis Gonzaga (March 6, 1933 – May 17, 2007) was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League for the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and the Detroit Lions. He also played in the American Football League for the Denver Broncos.

Early yearsEdit

John Gonzaga played football for Mount Diablo High School, but did not attend college, instead going to work to help support his family. He continued to be involved in the sport by playing sandlot football.

Professional careerEdit

San Francisco 49ersEdit

On October 21, 1956, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Francisco 49ers, though he never played a down of college football and he was working in a steel mill.

As a rookie, he was played at middle linebacker. The next year, he was used as a two-way right tackle. In 1958, he was moved to the left side, where he started for two seasons.

Dallas CowboysEdit

He was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960 NFL Expansion Draft and became the first starter at right defensive end in franchise history, while also leading the team in sacks.

On August 21, 1961, after asking to be traded, he was sent to the Detroit Lions in exchange for offensive guard Bob Grottkau and rookie Houston Entwine.[1]

Detroit LionsEdit

The Lions moved him to left tackle in his first two seasons with the team and then changed him to left guard. After being a five-year starter, he was released on August 30, 1966.[2]

Denver Broncos (AFL)Edit

On September 6, 1966, he was signed as a free agent by the Denver Broncos of the American Football League. He played right guard in 11 games.

Personal lifeEdit

Gonzaga came from a family of 14 children and was of Portuguese descent. He worked as a sales manager for Ford Motor Company glass division, until starting his own glass company.[3] He died on May 20, 2007, at his home in West Bloomfield, Michigan, after battling an illness.[4]


External linksEdit

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