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Sid Gillman
Walt Sweeney dies at 71; offensive guard for the San Diego Chargers

In his first game in 1963 with the San Diego Chargers, Walt Sweeney established a pattern that would mark his 13 seasons as a star in professional football. Even though it was only an exhibition, Sweeney played with a fearsome aggressiveness. As a special teams player, he raced down the field ahead of the veterans, making several tackles over the course of the game and becoming a fan favorite as the Chargers beat the Oakland Raiders. But there was something the fans did not know: Sweeney, then a 22-year-old first-round draft choice from Syracuse University, was so high on speed that his heart would not stop pounding after the game. In 11 seasons as an offensive guard with the...