John Yarno
Date of birth: (1954-12-17) December 17, 1954 (age 65)
Place of birth: Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Career information
Position(s): Center
Weight: 251 lb (114 kg)
College: Idaho
High school: Ferris (WA)
NFL Draft: 1977 / Round: 4 / Pick: 87
 As player:
Seattle Seahawks - NFL
Denver Gold - USFL
Career highlights and awards
Honors: 1976 All-American (AP) 1st Team
Playing stats at

John Richard Yarno, Jr. (born December 17, 1954) is a former professional football player, an offensive lineman with the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the Seahawks, the 87th overall pick,[1] and played for six seasons, from 1977-82.

High schoolEdit

Yarno was born and raised in Spokane, Washington, and attended Gonzaga Prep through his junior year. He transferred to Ferris High School for his senior year and graduated in 1973. He was an honorable mention all-city selection at center in the fall of 1972, when the Saxons won their third consecutive city league championship. As a senior, Yarno was 6 ft 4 in (Script error m) but under 200 lb (91 kg).[2][3]

College footballEdit

Left-handed and underweight for a center, Yarno was not highly recruited out of high school. He did not receive any offers from Pac-8 schools, only from Idaho and Boise State of the Big Sky conference. Idaho was a better fit for Yarno as it was closer to Spokane, a Division I program, and its offensive coordinator and line coach (Don Matthews) was a former head coach at Ferris and a UI alumnus. He also had familiarity with the college town of Moscow, the longtime residence of his maternal grandfather (Yarno's mother died when he was eight).[2] Yarno selected Idaho, then under fourth-year head coach Don Robbins, who had led Idaho to its then-best record of 8-3 in 1971.

In his freshman season of 1973, the Vandals went 4-7 for the second consecutive year and the coaching staff was dismissed, except for Ed Troxel, who was promoted to head coach. Yarno became a three-year starter in his sophomore season of 1974 under Troxel and offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson. In his senior season of 1976, Idaho was 7-4 for their first winning season in five years. He was a unanimous selection as the conference player of the year on offense, the first for an interior lineman. Yarno was the first (and only) Vandal to be named to the Division I first-team All-American (AP), which included a prime-time television appearance on the Bob Hope Christmas Special on NBC.[4][5][6] The All-America team was headlined by Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett of Pittsburgh.[7] Yarno was also selected to play in the East–West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.[8] The University of Idaho retired his number 56 in 1977.[9]

During his senior season at Idaho, Yarno was listed at 6 ft 5 in (Script error m) and 246 lb (112 kg). His younger brother George was the nose tackle with Washington State, and the two matched up often in the Battle of the Palouse in 1975 and 1976, both handily won by WSU.[10]

Pro footballEdit

A fourth round pick in the 1977 NFL Draft, Yarno played six seasons with the Seahawks, the last five as the starting center, and endured three knee surgeries while a pro. He signed a three-year contract in April 1983, but was waived by the team in late August after the acquisition of Blair Bush from Cincinnati.[11]

Not picked up by another NFL team in 1983, Yarno and his brother George signed three-year contracts with the Denver Gold of the USFL for the 1984 spring season. After limited playing time at center and tight end in the USFL and no interest from NFL teams in 1984, Yarno decided to retire from pro football at age 29 in November.[12]


  1. 1977 NFL Draft - John Yarno - 4th round - 87th overall
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Yarnos not delighted by prospect". Spokesman-Review: p. 16. November 12, 1975.,5208856.
  3. "Yarno brothers don't like the idea". Lewiston Morning Tribune: p. B1. November 12, 1975.
  4. "Yarno named All-American". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press: p. 39. December 2, 1976.,655164&dq=yarno&hl=en.
  5. "Contracts please Yarno". Spokesman-Review: p. 44. May 26, 1977.,4350315.
  6. Payne, Bob (December 3, 1976). "John Yarno:'Hard to believe'". Spokesman-Review: p. 33.
  7. "Dorsett heads AP's All-America team". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press: p. 1B. December 3, 1976.
  8. "Selection shocks Yarno". Lewiston Morning Tribune: p. 1B. December 3, 1976.
  9. "Hall of Famers arrive on campus". Go September 6, 2007.
  10. "Yarno vs. Yarno: brothers jaw-to-jaw". Spokesman Review: p. 15. September 27, 1976.,4857948.
  11. "Yarno caught off-guard". Spokesman-Review: p. 19. August 30, 1983.,8072360.
  12. "It's time to leave pros, says Yarno". Spokesman Review: p. B1. November 6, 1984.,3442441.

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