Redskins great Al Demao, a two-way player at center and linebacker for the post-war Redskins, passed away on Friday, Feb. 1. He was 87.
Demao lived in Bowie, Md. He played for the Redskins from 1945-53 and was named one of the franchise's 70 Greatest players in 2002.
Demao was born in New Kensington, Pa., near Pittsburgh and was an All-American center at Duquense University.
He was drafted by the Redskins in the ninth round of the 1942 NFL Draft, but he did not report to the team until 1945 due to a military obliation. Demao went overseas to fight in World War II and was part of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy.
In his first year with the Redskins, he helped lead the team to an NFL East championship. Washington would lose the NFL title game by one point to the Cleveland Rams.
As a center, the 6-2, 214-pound Demao snapped to one of the all-time greats in quarterback Sammy Baugh. Demao once called Baugh the greatest player he had ever seen.
"He did everything," Demao said of Baugh.
As a linebacker, Demao recorded eight interceptions and five fumble recoveries.
Demao had hoped to retire from Washington in 1952, but he was persuaded to return for one more season. He was honored with an "Al Demao Day" at Griffith Stadium at halftime of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in November 1953.
Fans chipped in and bought Demao a brand new Pontiac car, which was presented to him during an emotional halftime ceremony.
He called the Redskins "a heck of an organization and I greatly enjoyed my years with the franchise."
After retiring from the NFL, he worked as a successful sales manager for nearly 40 years.
Demao founded the Redskins Alumni Association in 1957 and the NFL alumni organization in 1967.