Larry Hand
No. 74     
Defensive end, defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1940-07-10) July 10, 1940 (age 79)
Place of birth: Paterson, New Jersey
Career information
College: Appalachian State
NFL Draft: 1964 / Round: 10 / Pick: 132
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Detroit Lions (19651977)
Career highlights and awards
* First-team NAIA All-American (1964)
Games played     164
Interceptions     5
Touchdowns     3
Stats at

Lawrence Thomas Hand (born July 10, 1940) is a former American football player. He played 13 seasons as a defensive end and defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for the Detroit Lions from 1965 to 1977. He was selected as the Lions' most valuable player in 1972 and was also selected as a second-team All-NFL player that year. At the time of his retirement, Hand's 164 games with the Lions ranked fourth in franchise history.

A native of Paterson, New Jersey, he played college football for the Appalachian State Mountaineers football team and was selected as a first-team NAIA All-American in 1964. He is one of only four Appalachian State football players to have had his jersey number (71) retired.

Early yearsEdit

Hand was born in 1940 in Paterson, New Jersey, grew up in West Milford, New Jersey, and attended Butler High School.[1][2][3] When he began high school, he was five feet, six inches tall, and weighed 135 pounds. He did not play varsity football until his senior year and, even then, was not a starter.[2][4] After graduating from high school, Hand took a job working as a mason in Butler.[2]

College footballEdit

Hand grew to be six feet, four inches tall, and 215 pounds, and enrolled at Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone, North Carolina.[2] He began playing college football for the Appalachian State Mountaineers football team in 1962 at age 22 under head coach Jim Duncan.[5] At the end of his junior year in 1963, he was unanimously selected as a first-team tackle on the All-Carolinas Conference football team.[6] He was also selected as the outstanding lineman in the conference.[7] After his senior year, he was selected as the most valuable player in the Carolinas Conference.[8] He was also named to the NAIA All-America team,[9][10] and was the only player selected as a first-team player on both the offensive and defensive units of the NAIA District 26 team -- he was picked as a tackle on offense and an interior lineman on defense.[11] His #71 jersey was later retired by Appalachian State,[5] one of only four Appalachian State jerseys to be retired.[4]

Professional footballEdit

In December 1963, the Detroit Lions selected Hand as a "future selection" in the 10th round of the 1964 NFL Draft. As a rookie in 1965, Hand share responsibility at the right defensive end position with Sam Williams.[1][2] He appeared in all 14 games at defensive end for the Lions in the 1965, 1966, and 1967 seasons.[1] On October 1, 1967, he scored his first NFL touchdown on an interception against Cardinals' quarterback Jim Hart.[12] He had a total of two interceptions for touchdowns during the 1967 season.[1]

In September 1968, Hand sustained torn ligaments to his knee in the season opener, underwent surgery, and missed the remainder of the 1968 season.[13] In 1969, he held out for the first two weeks of training camp, but re-signed with the Lions in late July.[14][15] Hand returned to his position as the Lions' right defensive end, starting all 14 games during the 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, and 1973 seasons. He had a 62-yard interception return for touchdown in 1970 and was selected as the defensive most valuable player for the 1972 Lions.[16] In 1973, Hand again held out during the early weeks of training camp, finally signing a contract in early August.[17]

In 1974, Hand appeared in 13 games at defensive end for the Lions, eight as a starter. In 1975, the Lions moved Hand from his regular spot at right defensive end to right defensive tackle. He started all 14 games for the Lions at that position during the 1975 season and 10 more in 1976.[1] In May 1975, he was honored with a ceremony in his hometown of Butler, New Jersey, in which he was presented with the key to the city.[18] On November 14, 1976, in the 10th game of the season, Hand injured his knee against the New Orleans Saints and missed the remainder of the season.[19]

In April 1977, Hand tested the waters as a free agent and received an offer from the Houston Oilers.[20][21] The Lions matched the Oilers' offer, and Hand returned to the Lions.[20] He appeared in all 14 games for the Lions in 1977, but was not a starter.[1] In August 1978, the Lions placed Hand on waivers, ending his NFL career.[22] At the time of his retirement, Hand's 164 games with the Lions ranked fourth in franchise history behind Wayne Walker, Dick LeBeau, and Darris McCord.[23]

Later yearsEdit

In the early 1980s, Hand moved to the Winston-Salem area in North Carolina.[24][25] He worked for many years as a stock broker and lived in the Winston-Salem area with his wife, Darlene.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Larry Hand". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Larry Hand". New Jersey Sports Heroes. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  3. Presinzano, Jessica. "Celebrities, politicians and athletes who call North Jersey home", The Record (Bergen County), October 11, 2017. Accessed November 18, 2017. "Larry Hand, formerly of the Detroit Lions was born in Paterson, but grew up in West Milford."
  4. 4.0 4.1 "App State greats – Larry Hand". Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "A Big Hand: 'Late Bloomer' Will Have His No. 71 Retired by Appalachian". Appalachian State University. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  6. "Hand, Tart Unanimous Picks For All-Carolinas Team". The High Point (NC) Enterprise: p. 29. December 1, 1963. open access
  7. "Edwards Pokes A Little Fun At Grid Substitution Ruling". The High Point (NC) Enterprise: p. 16. December 4, 1963. open access
  8. "Wheless, Hand Unanimous Choices". The Daily Times-News: p. 11. December 14, 1964. open access
  9. "Rowe Selected On 2nd Team All-American". The Daily Times-News: p. 15. December 23, 1964. open access
  10. "Black Named All-America On NAIA Unit". Spartanburg Herald: p. 21. December 23, 1964.,4091014&hl=en.
  11. "Elon Places Four on NAIA District Team". Burlington (NC) Daily Time-News: p. 14. November 25, 1964. open access
  12. "Hand Gets Into Point Act". News-Journal: p. 36. October 8, 1967. open access
  13. Jack Saylor (September 18, 1968). "Lions Injured End Out for the Season". Detroit Free Press: p. 1D. open access
  14. "Hand Ready to Quit". Detroit Free Press: p. 2D. April 30, 1969. open access
  15. "Lions Have Hand". The Berkshire Eagle: p. 19. July 26, 1969.
  16. "Hand, Freitas honored as most valuable Lions". Record-Eagle (Traverse City): p. 2B. December 22, 1972. open access
  17. "Lions Finally Get Larry Hand Signed". The Argus-Press (Owosso, MI): p. 18. August 9, 1973.,3727926&hl=en.
  18. Jack Saylor (May 13, 1975). "Lions' Hand Has His Day". Detroit Free Press: p. 2D. open access
  19. "Lions' Hand Out for Year". Ironwood Daily Globe: p. 11. November 19, 1976. open access
  20. 20.0 20.1 Jack Saylor (April 22, 1977). "Lions Match Oilers' Offer, Keep Hand". Detroit Free Press: pp. 1D, 5D. open access
  21. Jack Saylor (February 17, 1977). "'I Hope the Lions Still Want Me' – Larry Hand". Detroit Free Press: p. 4D. open access
  22. "2 Lion vets on waivers". Detroit Free Press: pp. 1D, 8D. August 17, 1978. open access
  23. "Player Season Finder Query Results". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  24. "Carolina's coast is hunter's delight". Detroit Free Press: p. 11H. December 19, 1982. open access
  25. "Former NFL player coming here". The Gaffney (SC) Ledger: p. 10. September 20, 1989. open access
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