Steve Owens
No. 36
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1947-12-09) December 9, 1947 (age 74)
Gore, Oklahoma
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:Miami (OK)
College:Oklahoma (1967–1969)
NFL Draft:1970 / Round: 1 / Pick: 19
Career history
As a player:
As an administrator:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:2,451
Yards per carry:3.9
Rushing touchdowns:20
Player stats at · PFR

Loren Everett "Steve" Owens (born December 9, 1947) is a former American football player who played professionally as a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for five seasons in the early 1970s. Owens played college football for the University of Oklahoma, and was the 1969 Heisman Trophy winner and an All-American. He was selected in the first round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, 19th overall, and became the first Lion to rush for over a 1,000 yards in a season.

Early years

Born in Gore, Oklahoma, Owens was raised in Miami, Oklahoma. He attended Miami High School, where he was a standout high school football player for the Miami Wardogs. He is in the Miami Wardogs Hall of Fame. There is a sculpture of him by the Wardogs football field.

College career

Owens played college football for the University of Oklahoma in Norman from 1967 to 1969. As a senior in 1969, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American, and became the second Oklahoma Sooner to win the Heisman Trophy (after Billy Vessels, and preceding Sam Bradford, Jason White, Billy Sims, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray). He was the Sooners' all-time scorer with fifty-seven touchdowns until DeMarco Murray beat his record in 2010, and retains the third highest Sooners career rushing total with 4,041 yards.

Owens holds the distinction of executing touchdowns on the first three forward passes of his NCAA career.[1] He also established the career rushing record of 3,867 yards that stood for two years until Ed Marinaro broke it in 1971.[2] His 1967–1969 career points per game record would be broken the following season by Arkansas' Bill Burnett.[3]

In 2006, the university erected a bronze statue of Owens on its campus in Heisman Park, commemorating his 1969 award. He was also a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at OU.

Professional career

The Detroit Lions chose Owens in the first round (nineteenth overall) in the 1970 NFL draft, and he signed in June.[4] He played for the Lions for five seasons, from 1970 to 1974, and struggled with injuries. In his rookie year, he had a severely separated shoulder that kept him out of the season's first half.[5] Healthy, Owens rushed for 1,035 yards in 1971, becoming the first back in the history of the Lions' franchise to run for more than 1,000 yards in a single season, and was selected for the Pro Bowl.

On Thanksgiving in 1974 at Tiger Stadium, Owens opened the game with 46 yards in four carries but went down in the first quarter with ligament damage to his left knee.[6] and sat out the entire 1975 season. He retired during training camp in August 1976,[7] after a series of injuries that plagued his pro career.

Life after football

Owens served as the athletic director for the Oklahoma Sooners athletic program at his alma mater from August 1996 until March 1998.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "2009 Division I Football Records Book: Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Records" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. p. 16. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  2. ^ "2009 Division I Football Records Book: Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Records" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. p. 33. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  3. ^ "2009 Division I Football Records Book: Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Records" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. p. 46. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  4. ^ "Lions sign Steve Owens". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. June 25, 1970. p. 23.
  5. ^ "Lions lose Steve Owens on injury". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. September 14, 1970. p. 14.
  6. ^ "Broncos' tricks trap Lions". Milwaukee Journal. press dispatches. November 29, 1974. p. 14, part 2.
  7. ^ "Owens calls it quits with Lions". Victoria Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. August 25, 1976. p. 3B.
  8. ^ "Briefs: Football". The Day. New London, Connecticut. March 19, 1998. p. C2.