Eagles title team member Carr dies at 79
Jimmy Carr, who scored one of the biggest touchdowns of the Eagles’ 1960 championship season, died Monday in Fishers, Indiana. He was 79.
Carr and Tom Brookshier were the starting cornerbacks for the Eagles team that went 10-2 in 1960 and defeated Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, 17-13, in the title game at Franklin Field.
Carr often joked about his lack of speed, but he looked plenty fast when he caught a fumble in mid-air and raced 38 yards to a touchdown, lifting the Eagles to a 17-10 win over the New York Giants on Nov. 20, 1960.
That was the game made famous by Chuck Bednarik’s knockout shot on New York’s Frank Gifford. The Bednarik hit occurred on the series after Carr’s touchdown put the Eagles ahead for the first time with just over two minutes to go. The victory helped the Eagles end the Giants’ reign as the top team in the Eastern Conference.
It was the only touchdown Carr scored in nine seasons as an NFL player, but it was one Eagles fans will long remember.
Carr was better known as “Gummy” because he lost most of his teeth as a teenager when he was stricken with rheumatic fever. Prior to that while growing up in West Virginia, he suffered severe burns to his legs that required skin grafts. He was on crutches for almost a year.
“All that taught me was that nothing in life comes easy,” Carr said in a 1960 interview. “It was a valuable lesson.”
Carr overcame those setbacks to star as a single-wing tailback at Morris Harvey College, now the University of Charleston. He signed with the Chicago Cardinals as a free agent in 1955 and played one season before joining the Army. Following his discharge, Carr played briefly for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League before signing with the Eagles in 1959.
The Eagles were already well stocked with running backs so coach Buck Shaw put the 6-1, 215-pound Carr on defense, pairing him with Brookshier to give the team a rugged set of corners. Assistant coach Charlie Gauer said: “(They) can curl the whiskers off any runner in the league. They’re the best pair of tacklers I’ve seen.”
In 1964, Carr was traded along with quarterback Sonny Jurgensen to Washington for quarterback Norm Snead and cornerback Claude Crabb. It was one of the worst trades in Eagles history, although Carr jokingly explained it saying: “The deal was really me for Crabb. Jurgensen and Snead were just throw-ins.”
Carr retired following the 1965 season and spent the next three decades as a defensive coordinator and secondary coach in the NFL, the USFL, the CFL and the World League of American Football. He was defensive coordinator with the Eagles from 1969 through 1972.
He was one of the funniest people in the game, always ready with a quip or a new dance step, which never failed to amuse the players. He was the first assistant coach NFL Films ever wired for sound. He wore the microphone for the opening game of the 1970 season, a 17-7 Eagles’ loss to Dallas.
The film showed Carr as a bundle of nervous energy – bouncing, twisting, writhing in agony on almost every play. When he saw it, he was surprised. “I had no idea I did that,” he said. “I never knew why I was so sore after games. Now I know.”
Carr is survived by his wife Lila, their two children, Ken and Gwen, and seven grandchildren. A memorial service will be held Aug. 18 at 2 P.M. at Hamilton Hills Baptist Church in Fishers, Ind.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the All-Pro Dad Organization founded by Tony Dungy, Family First, 5211 W. Laurel St., suite 102, Tampa, Fla. 33607. Donations can also be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association.