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Bobby Watkins
Watkins on a 1955 Bowman football card
Born: (1932-03-30) March 30, 1932 (age 89)
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Career information
CollegeOhio State
NFL draft1955 / Round: 2 / Pick: 23
Career history
As player
1955–1957Chicago Bears
1958Chicago Cardinals

Robert Archbald Watkins Jr. (born March 30, 1932) is a former American football halfback who played college football at Ohio State University and professionally in the National Football League (NFL).

Ohio State

Watkins was one of the first African American running backs at the Ohio State University. He lettered from 1952 through 1954 and was one of the first recruits of legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes. Hayes shrugged off criticism by some bigoted alumni, insisting he would not consider recruits based on skin color. Watkins was Ohio State's leading rusher in 1953 and leading scorer during the 1954 national championship season.


Watkins was the 23rd selection in the 1955 NFL Draft. He played three years with the Bears before ending his career with the crosstown Chicago Cardinals.

Professional life

Watkins formerly served as a vice president of Seagrams and Sons and is an expert on the American Civil War. He has been a guest speaker on many occasions including as the keynote speaker at the Plymouth Teaching American History Grant's culminating celebration.

Currently he is serving on the Board of Directors of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.