Ray Donaldson

Ray Donaldson
No. 53
Position: Center
Personal information
Date of birth: (1958-05-18) May 18, 1958
Place of birth: Rome, Georgia, United States
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 311 lb (141 kg)
Career information
High school: Rome (GA) East
College: Georgia
NFL Draft: 1980 / Round: 2 / Pick: 32
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games Played: 244
Games Started: 228
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Ray Canute Donaldson (born May 18, 1958) is a former American football Center in the National Football League for the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys. He played in 17 seasons and was selected to six Pro Bowls (four of them in his stay with the Colts). He played college football at the University of Georgia.

Early years

Donaldson attended East Rome High School where he participated in basketball and football, playing as a linebacker, fullback and tight end. As a senior he received High School All-American and All‐State honors. His jersey has since been retired.

He entered the University of Georgia with the intention of playing linebacker, but as a sophomore after the fifth game of the season, because of injuries, he made a seamless transition to center. He also played guard during his time in college.

As a senior he was an All-American and an All-Southeastern Conference selection. He also played in the East–West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.

In 2006, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. In 2010, he was inducted into the Rome Sports Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Baltimore Colts

Donaldson, was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the secondnd round (32nd overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft. As a rookie he was a reserve offensive lineman (center & guard) and ranked second on the team with 7 special teams tackles. The next year he was named the starting center and it is believed that he also became the first starting African-American center in NFL History.

In 1983, he was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl. He played with the Colts for 13 years and made the Pro Bowl 4 straight seasons from 1986 to 1989.

Donaldson only playoff experience with the Colts came in 1987. In 1991, he suffered a broken fibula and was lost for the season after the third game against the Los Angeles Raiders.

On February 18, 1993, he was released at the age of 35.[1] He left the team ranked third in franchise history in games played (184). To this day, he is still tied for second-place all-time for years of service with the team, trailing only Johnny Unitas who spent 17 years with the franchise.

Seattle Seahawks

Donaldson signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks and played from 1993 to 1994.[2] In his first year, he anchored an offensive line that helped the team lead the AFC in rushing for the first time in franchise history.

Dallas Cowboys

Needing help at center after Mark Stepnoski left to the Houston Oilers, the Dallas Cowboys signed Donaldson as an unrestricted free agent in 1995.[3] That season he was the NFL's oldest starting center until suffering a broken right ankle and being placed on the injured reserve list. He was replaced by Derek Kennard and missed the last 4 regular season games and all of the playoffs, including Super Bowl XXX.

Donaldson was released for salary cap reasons in the 1997 off-season.[4] During his time with the Cowboys, he experienced a career renaissance, making the Pro Bowl both seasons. He was also part of a formidable offensive line that included: Larry Allen, Nate Newton, Mark Tuinei and Erik Williams.

Personal life

He currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana where he is a high school football coach.


  1. "Colts waive Donaldson". Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  2. "Donaldson, Seahawks agree". Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  3. "Cowboys sign Donaldson to replace Stepnoski at center". Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  4. "Donaldson given release by Cowboys". Retrieved February 21, 2016.
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