Template:NFL player Ray Douglas McDonald (May 7, 1944 – May 4, 1993) was a professional American football player, a running back in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins for two seasons, from 1967-68.
McDonald was born in McKinney, a segregated suburb of Dallas. After 17 years in McKinney, he followed his high school coach to Caldwell, Idaho in 1961, where he attended Caldwell High School for two years, graduating in 1963. At 6'2" and 220 pounds, he was a high school All-American and was compared to NFL great Jim Brown.
McDonald then attended the University of Idaho in Moscow. As a speedy fullback for the Vandals, he was known as "Thunder Ray" and led the nation in rushing in 1966 with 1329 yards. At an imposing 6'4", 248 pounds, he was the dominant player in the Big Sky Conference, and was the leading rusher for Idaho in all three years of eligibility (1964–66), averaging 133 yards rushing per game for his collegiate career. (Freshman were ineligible for NCAA varsity participation until the 1970s.)
Ray McDonald was selected in the first round of the 1967 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, the 13th overall pick, a personal choice by owner Edward Bennett Williams. He signed a three-year guaranteed contract for $100,000.
Ray McDonald eventually became a junior high music teacher. After an extended battle, he died of complications due to AIDS at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, on May 4, 1993, three days before his 49th birthday, with a body weight less than half of his NFL playing weight. The cause of death was originally reported as complications from sickle cell anemia.
- ↑ Kroeger, Brooke (2004), Passing: When People Can't Be Who They Are, p. 238, ISBN 1586482874
- ↑ Popkey, Dan (December 30, 2007), Lives of three U of I stars unfolded very differently, <http://www.idahostatesman.com/eyepiece/story/250654.html>. Retrieved on 2007-12-31