Carl Ward

Carl Ward

refer to caption

Ward in 1964
Position: Halfback, Defensive back, Return specialist
Personal information
Date of birth: (1944-07-26) July 26, 1944
Place of birth: Hartsond, Alabama
Career information
College: University of Michigan
NFL Draft: 1967 / Round: 4 / Pick: 83
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • All-Big Ten, 1965
  • Longest kickoff return in Cleveland Browns history
Career NFL statistics
Games: 30
Return yards: 907
Fumble recoveries: 6
Player stats at PFR

Carl Davis Ward (born July 26, 1944) is a former American football player. He played college football as a halfback for the University of Michigan from 1964 to 1966 and professional football in the National Football League for the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints from 1967 to 1969.

Early years

Ward was born in Hartsond, Alabama, in 1944.[1] He attended Taft High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.


In 1964, Ward helped lead the Wolverines football team to their first Big Ten Conference championship since 1950,[2] breaking the longest championship drought in school history. The 1964 Wolverines outscored their opponents 235–83, finished the regular season 8–1,[3] and narrowly missed an undefeated season with a 21–20 loss to a Purdue Boilermakers team led by sophomore Bob Griese.[4]

The Wolverines (ranked No. 4) advanced to the Rose Bowl where they defeated Tommy Prothro's Oregon State Beavers, 34–7, on New Year's Day. Ward gained 88 rushing yards on 10 carries in the 1965 Rose Bowl, including a 43-yard touchdown run.[5][6]

Ward continued as one of the Wolverines' leading yard gainers for three consecutive years from 1964 to 1966. He was the team's leading rusher in 1965 with 639 net rushing yards and the leading kickoff returner with 193 yards on 10 kickoff returns.[5] In a September 1966 game that matched Michigan against its 1965 Rose Bowl opponent, Ward scored to touchdowns in a 31–0 victory over Oregon State.[7]

From 1964 to 1966, Ward totaled 2,266 all-purpose yards for Michigan, including 1,673 rushing yards, 396 yards on kickoff returns, and 188 receiving yards.[5] His biggest single-game performances for Michigan were as follows:

DateOpponentRushing yardsReceiving yardsKickoff return yardsAll-purpose yards
November 6, 1965Illinois139627165
November 5, 1966Illinois131421156
November 20, 1965Ohio State10408112
January 1, 1965Oregon State88020108
October 24, 1964Minnesota10800108

Professional football

Ward was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 4th round (83rd overall pick) of the 1967 NFL Draft[1] and signed with the Browns in July 1967.[8] In the Browns' final pre-season game, Ward returned a kickoff 85 yards against the Minnesota Vikings.[9] During the 1967 regular season, he returned 22 kickoffs for 546 yards and 6 punts for 62 yards, ranking 8th in the NFL in punt and kickoff return yardage.[1] The highlight of Ward's rookie season came on November 26, 1967 when he returned a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins.[10] His 104-yard return was the longest in Cleveland Browns franchise history and remains tied for the 15th longest in NFL history.[11]

During the 1968 season, Ward returned 13 kickoffs for 236 yards.[1]

In September 1969, the New Orleans Saints acquired Ward off waivers from the Browns.[12] Ward appeared in only two games for the Saints during the 1969 season, returning 3 kickoffs for 58 yards.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Carl Ward". Retrieved July 16, 2011.
  2. "U of M Football". The Regents of the University of Michigan. May 26, 2007. Retrieved July 16, 201. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. "1964 Football Team". The Regents of the University of Michigan. March 31, 2007. Retrieved November 25, 2007.
  4. "Versus Purdue October 17, 1964". Regents of the University of Michigan. 2003. Retrieved November 24, 2007.
  5. 1 2 3 "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". University of Michigan. Archived from the original on November 12, 2007.
  6. "Rose Is 'Lemon Bowl' 34–7". St. Petersburg Times. January 2, 1965.
  7. "Michigan Speed, Power Overwhelm Oregon State". The Spokesman-Review. September 18, 1966.
  8. "Brows Sign Four Including Barnes". Toledo Blade. July 8, 1967.
  9. "Browns Wallop Vikings, 42–14, in Exhibition". The New York Times. September 11, 1967.
  10. "KELLY SPARKS BROWNS' WIN". The Sun, Baltimore, Md. November 27, 1967.
  11. "NFL Single-Season Longest Kick Returns Leaders".
  12. "Saints Kick Out Kicker to Get Defensive Help". Chicago Tribune. September 18, 1969.
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