Wentford Gaines
No. 36     
Defensive back / Return specialist
Personal information
Date of birth: (1953-02-04) February 4, 1953 (age 67)
Place of birth: Anderson, South Carolina
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) Weight: 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
College: Ferrum College
Tennessee Tech
NFL Draft: 1976 / Round: 9 / Pick: 265
Debuted in 1978 for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Last played in 1980 for the Chicago Bears
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1980
Games played     36
Kick returns/ yards     10/ 240
Interceptions     1
Fumbles/ recovered     2/ 1
Stats at
Stats at
Stats at

Wentford Elijah "Mumbo" Gaines (born February 4, 1953) is a former American football defensive back who played in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears.

Early lifeEdit

Gaines was raised in Anderson, South Carolina. In high school he was noted more for his basketball and track performances, but when he failed receive any basketball scholarship offers, he decided to turn his attention to football. He attended Ferrum Junior College in Ferrum, Virginia. After two years at Ferrum he attended Tennessee Tech for a year before transferring to the University of Cincinnati where he played football and majored in Health Administration.[1]

Football careerEdit

Gaines was drafted in the ninth round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He lost his first two seasons due to injuries — a pulled hamstring in 1976 and a sprained ankle suffered in the team's final preseason game of 1977.[2] He finally made his NFL debut in 1978, but was cut by the Steelers after the season's first game.[3]

The Chicago Bears signed Gaines a month later.[4] He split time at left cornerback for the Bears with Terry Schmidt.[5]

Gaines once again landed on the injury list after suffering a dislocated wrist in the Bears eighth game of 1980.[6] His playing career ended when he was cut by the Bears during training camp in 1981.[7]

Post-football lifeEdit

Gaines has twin sons, Jerrid and Jerrod. Jerrid played college football at Miami University and attended camps with both the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals in 2008.[8] As of 2011 Gaines was coaching football at Lincoln High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.[9][10]


  1. Emert, Rich (August 2, 1977). "Injuries help Gaines turn corner". The Beaver County Times: p. B-1. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  2. "Pittsburgh "Gains" Another Cornerback Prospect". Observer-Reporter. AP: p. C-1. August 1, 1978. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  3. "Steelers Acquire Back Al Maxson". The Vindicator. AP: p. 24. September 7, 1978. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  4. "Morgan Trying Out With Packer Squad". Milwaukee Journal. AP: p. 14. October 7, 1978. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  5. "Bears vs. Vikings". The Vindicator: p. 26. November 10, 1978. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  6. "Bears may lose defensive back". The Free Lance–Star. AP: p. 10. October 9, 1980. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  7. "Transactions". Boca Raton News: p. 3B. August 18, 1981. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  8. Rowe, Kermit (August 7, 2008). "Gaines back with Bengals". Springfield News-Sun. Archived from the original on December 22, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  9. Ludwig, Chuck (June 15, 2008). "Ex-Miami Cornerback endures ups, downs in NFL". JournalNews. Archived from the original on December 22, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  10. "Liberty Lines". Jersey City Public Schools. January/February 2011. Archived from the original on December 22, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
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