Lloyd K. "Colt" Colteryahn, UM football star and Colts receiver, dies

He played for the Colts in the mid-1950s

  • Lloyd Colteryahn
Lloyd Colteryahn
May 06, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

Lloyd Kenneth "Colt" Colteryahn, a former outstanding University of Maryland football star who later was a receiver and defensive end for the Baltimore Colts in the mid-1950s, died Monday of a blood infection at a hospital in Dunedin, Fla.

The former Northeast Baltimore resident was 79.

Mr. Colteryahn was born in Pittsburgh and raised in the nearby suburb of Brentwood. He was a 1949 graduate of Brentwood High School, where he earned 16 varsity letters during his high school career.

Years later, he was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.

After high school, the 220-pound, 6-foot-3-inch football player enrolled at the University of Maryland, where he played for coach Jim Tatum.

"In the years that Jim Tatum was making football history at College Park and raising the University of Maryland to a national power, Lloyd Colteryahn was one of his best ends," reported The Evening Sun.

In his senior season in 1952, Mr. Colteryahn, wearing No. 70, set a record that stood for 35 years by catching 32 passes for 593 yards and four touchdowns.

Also that year, he was co-holder of the "Terrapin standard for receptions in one game, snaring eight, good for 131 yards, against Alabama that season," reported The Evening Sun.

In Maryland football history, Mr. Colteryahn, who was described as a "glue-fingered receiver" in a 1956 Baltimore Sun article, still holds second place among receivers with an average of 19 yards per catch.

As a junior, he was a member of the Maryland football team that beat Tennessee, 28-13, in the 1952 Sugar Bowl, where he was quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up Jack Scarbath's leading receiver. The following year, he played in the all-star Blue-Gray Game and Senior Bowl.

While at College Park, Mr. Colteryahn met Peggy Lee Bradley, whom he married in 1953. She died in 1994.

He was drafted in the fourth round of the 1953 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers and was later released by the team. He was a free agent when he signed with the Colts in 1954.

"He actually didn't get a chance to make the grade with Pittsburgh last year," Colts coach Weeb Ewbank told The Baltimore Sun in a 1954 article. "He reported late, and that is almost an impossible handicap to overcome in this league."

During his inaugural season with the Colts, Mr. Colteryahn caught 30 passes for 384 yards.

Legendary quarterback John Unitas, who joined the Colts in 1956, mentioned Mr. Colteryahn in a 1997 Sun article.

"With the Colts, a smart player named Lloyd Colteryahn told me how I could work a lot of plays off a slant pass," he said.

Mr. Colteryahn who eventually earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland in 1955, was put on waivers by the Colts in 1956 after three games.

"We didn't release Lloyd because of his playing ability but because of the thinness of our defensive backfield. We think he is a good end, and we'll try and find a job for him," Don Kellett, who was Colts president, told The Baltimore Sun in a 1956 interview.

Off-season, Mr. Colteryahn worked at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point plant.

"In those days, players had full-time jobs. I don't think Lloyd ever made more than $4,000 playing for the Colts at his peak," said his son-in-law, Mike Baker, who lives in Derwood, Montgomery County.

"Bethlehem let him take off for the football season, and when it was over, he returned to work. They were going to trade him to the Rams, but he had a family and no guaranteed off-season job on the West Coast, so his career came to an end, and he retired from the NFL."

Mr. Colteryahn was general foreman of Bethlehem's plate mill at the time of his 1984 retirement.

"Lloyd was a very nice guy. What can I say?" Art Donovan, the Colts' Hall of Fame tackle, recalled the other day. "He was a good player and always played defense. He was a very good friend and a nice fellow."

Former Colts' tight end Jim Mutscheller remained close friends with Mr. Colteryahn.

"He was my roommate for three years and a good receiver," said Mr. Mutscheller. "He had good hands, ran good cross patterns and could get open. For Johnny Unitas, he was the guy who ran the fish hook, going down and coming back to the quarterback."

Mr. Mutscheller said his friend loved to get together with friends and former teammates.

"Lloyd was a certified entertainer. He loved to party and knew how to do it," he said. "He loved making everyone happy."

Mr. Colteryahn's enthusiasm for football survived the Colts' midnight exodus from Baltimore, and he became an avid Ravens fan.

"Though his knees were shot and his ability to come out to the stadium difficult, he was very thankful to [Ravens owner] Steve [Bisciotti] for reaching out to the old-timers and to include them in the rebirth of the NFL in Baltimore," his son-in-law said.

"It certainly made his Sunday afternoons during the NFL season in his final years much more enjoyable to have a home team to watch and support," he said.

The former Northeast Baltimore resident, who later moved to Taylors Island, was a member of the National Football League Alumni Association and was a past president of the Baltimore Colts Alumni Association.

Other memberships included the Grand National Waterfowl Association and the Taylors Island Volunteer Fire Company. He was also a member of Taylors Island United Methodist Church.

Since 2007, he had spent winters with a daughter in Dunedin.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Fort Lincoln Cemetery Chapel, 3401 Bladensburg Road, Brentwood.

Also surviving are three daughters, Lura-Lee Baker of Derwood, Judy Lee Colteryahn of Cambridge and Karen Lee Colteryahn of Dunedin; a brother, Wayne Colteryahn of Pittsburgh; two sisters, Norene Garrett of Wilmington, N.C., and Wilma Krauss of Pittsburgh; and two granddaughters.


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