Former USC Trojan and Detroit Lion Don Doll lived a remarkable life

Amon-Ra St. Brown will carry the USC Trojans banner in Detroit as a new member of the Lions. It’s a great time to remember past USC players who made a memorable impression on Lions, and thus pass on the history of USC football to younger generations who these giants may not know many years ago.

One such giant: Don Doll.

USC’s defensive back and halfback died in 2010 at the age of 84. At the time of his death, he was the only NFL player in history to have had at least 10 interceptions in three different seasons. Doll helped the Lions win the 1952 NFL Championship, one of only four NFL titles the Lions have won in their largely snake-shaken history as a professional football club.

The 2010 Associated Press obituary recalled the many successes of Doll’s football career in the NFL, USC, and coaching:

He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and was named the game’s MVP in 1953.

Doll returned to the Lions as a trainer from 1963 to 1964 and again from 1978 to 1988.

He was a four-year-old letterman who played halfback in Southern California, playing at the Rose Bowl in 1945 when the Trojans defeated Tennessee and again in 1949 when they lost to Michigan.

Doll ran the Trojans in a hurry in 1944, ’47, and ’48. He ran for 1,067 career opportunities and led the team at receptions and points in 48.

Doll missed the 1945 season while serving in the Marines. The school said he was aboard the USS Missouri when the Japanese signed surrender papers on the ship to end World War II.

He was an assistant coach in Washington in 1955 and served in the same capacity at USC in 1957 and ’58.

Don Doll won a Rose Bowl and an NFL championship. He has seen history on matters far more important than football. He was also an incredibly gifted defensive player, intercepting 41 passes in 71 professional games.

Great player, great champion, and a fearless person. Don Doll has left very big and positive marks on this earth. Its story deserves to be passed down to younger Lions fans and future generations of USC Trojans.

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