For the Canadian ice hockey player, see Steve Junker (ice hockey).
Date of birth: (1935-07-22) July 22, 1935 (age 85)
Place of birth: Cincinnati, Ohio
Career information
Position(s): End
High school: Elder (Cincinnati, Ohio)
NFL Draft: 1957 / Round: 4 / Pick: 48
Career highlights and awards
  • First-team All-Ohio (1956)
Playing stats at

Steven Norbert Junker (born July 22, 1935) is a former American football player. He played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Detroit Lions (1957, 1959–1960) and the Washington Redskins (1961–1962). As a rookie, he caught eight passes for 95 yards and a touchdowns in the Lions' divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. He also had two touchdown catches in the Lions' victory over the Cleveland Browns in the 1957 NFL Championship Game. He missed the 1958 season after sustaining a knee injury and never fully recovered from his knee injuries.

Junker also played college football at Xavier University from 1953 to 1956. In 1956, he was inducted into Xavier's "Legion of Honor" and was selected as a second-team end on the Associated Press' small college All-America football team and a first-team player on the International News Service's All-Ohio team. He was also selected to play in the 1956 East–West Shrine Game and the August 1957 Chicago College All-Star Game.

Early years

Junker was born in 1935 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended Elder High School in that city.[1]

College football

Junker enrolled at Xavier University and played college football as a linebacker and end for the Xavier Musketeers football team from 1953 to 1956.[2] In 1956, he was inducted into Xavier's "Legion of Honor", the highest award Xavier bestowed on its athletes.[3][4] Also at the end of the 1956 season, Junker was named by the Associated Press as a second-team end on its small college All-America football team,[5] and a first-team player on the International News Service's All-Ohio team.[6] He was also selected to play in the 1956 East–West Shrine Game.[7] In the August 1957 Chicago College All-Star Game, Junker starred for the college all-stars.[8]

Professional football

Junker was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round (48th overall pick) of the 1957 NFL Draft.[1][9] As a rookie in 1957, he caught 22 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season.[1] He then blossomed in the playoffs. In the divisional playoff against the San Francisco 49ers, Junker caught eight passes for 92 yards, one of them for a touchdown.[10][11] In the 1957 NFL Championship Game, he was the Lions leading scorer with 12 points and caught five passes, including touchdown receptions covering 26 and 23 yards.[12][13][14]

Junker suffered a knee injury in an Xavier alumni football game in the spring of 1958. Junker later recalled that, despite four knee surgeries, "The knee just never quite came back."[2] As a result of the injury, he missed the entire 1958 NFL season.[15]

Junker returned to the Lions in 1959, but he continued to be hampered by his bad knee and had no catches.[16] During the Lions' pre-season camp in 1960, Junker impressed observers and led to his being "hailed as the 'comeback star' of 1960."[17] However, he managed only six catches for 55 yards during the 1960 regular season.[1]

In September 1961, the Lions traded Junker to the Washington Redskins in exchange for Johnny Olszewski.[18] He played for the Redskins in 1961 and 1962, totaling 20 catches for 279 yards.[1]

Later years

In 1963, after retiring from football, Junker began a long association with Wilson Realty Co. in the Cincinnati area.[19] He remained with the company through at least 1976.[2] He later formed his own company known as Steve Junker Realty.[20] He also worked for a time in the mid-1960s as a scout for the Atlanta Falcons and later for the Dallas Cowboys.[2][21]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Steve Junker". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jack Murray (July 4, 1976). "Steve Junker Still Covering Ground". The Cincinnati Enquirer: p. C7. open access
  3. "Bertoia and Young Feted at Xavier U.". The Daily Reporter (Dover, OH): p. 12. November 27, 1956. open access
  4. "Opposes Former Teammates". The Cincinnati Enquirer: p. 82. May 4, 1958. open access
  5. "Junker, Malone Named". The Cincinnati Enquirer: p. 57. December 6, 1956. open access
  6. "Bowling Green Dominates All-Ohio Stars". The Daily Times: p. 9. December 4, 1956. open access
  7. "Steve Junker Named To East Grid Team". The Cincinnati Enquirer: p. 36. December 4, 1956. open access
  8. "Brodie Pick as Stars' MVP After Game with Giants -- Xavier's Junker Is Mentioned". The Cincinnati Enquirer: p. 62. August 11, 1957. open access
  9. "Junker Now Pro". The Cincinnati Enquirer: p. 43. December 14, 1956. open access
  10. "Junker Is Real 'Find' for Lions". Record Eagle, Traverse City, MI (UPI story): p. 17. December 26, 1957. open access
  11. Lyall Smith (December 23, 1957). "The Lions' 1957 Fight Song: 'Oh, We Won Because We Won --'". Detroit Free Press: p. 33. open access
  12. Bob Latshaw (December 30, 1957). "Lions Win, 59-14! 55,263 See Browns Humbled; It's Third Title in Six Years". Detroit Free Press: pp. 1-2. open access
  13. "Cleveland Browns 14 at Detroit Lions 59". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 15, 2016. open access
  14. "Former pro football player to speak at Lombardi Awards night". Wilmington (OH) News-Journal: p. 15. November 1, 1974. open access
  15. George Puscas (September 27, 1958). "End Steve Junker Out for Season". Detroit Free Press: p. 14. open access
  16. "Lion Notes". Detroit Free Press: p. 27. November 3, 1959. open access
  17. George Puscas (August 10, 1960). "They Never Come Back? ... Lions' Junker Is Showing 'Em". Detroit Free Press: p. 37. open access
  18. "Lions Trade Steve Junker". The Cincinnati Enquirer: p. 37. September 6, 1961. open access
  19. "3 Brokers Appoint Sales Associates". The Cincinnati Enquirer: p. 3I. December 15, 1963. open access
  20. "Hank Zureick Remembers: Steve Junker Elder High School 1949-1953". The Cincinnati Enquirer: p. 29. November 18, 1994. open access
  21. "Falcons Hire Junker as Scout". The Pantagraph: p. 20. September 2, 1960. open access
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