Being Drafted By the Eagles in 1944 Was a Cause for Celebration. The Only Piece Missing Was To Let Norm Michael Know that He Was Drafted.

For the selected few who get the opportunity to hear their names called at the end of April each year and walk across that stage with hundreds of camera flashes going off around you — the opportunity is breathtaking. The process of one of the NFL’s largest events each year viewed by 12.1 million people generally works better when you inform the Draft Picks of the potential of being selected, or even when they are selected by one of the NFL’s 32 franchises.

Norman Gladding Michael was born in May of 1921 in Rocky River, Ohio. He was a standout fullback for Syracase before serving in WW2 and was even called “a first-class fullback so long as his bones maintain the particular spirit of unity.”

The first NFL Draft — at the urging of Eagles owner Bert Bell — was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia in 1936. The first draft was only nine total rounds and had no media coverage. The 1944 Draft — diminished as America was at War and also known as the 1943 Preferred Negotiations List — was also held in Philadelphia at the Warwick Hotel.

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After selecting Steve Van Buren out of LSU with the fifth pick, the team selected Norm Michael in the 20th round, eighty years ago. The only problem remaining — the Eagles couldn’t find him. Michael was stationed in Alabama serving in the army during WW2.

Fifty-five years later — while reading a local newspaper in 1999 that had a section about draftees from Syracuse in the NFL — there was Michael’s name. It’s a story that Michael told for the rest of his life until his death in 2011 at the age of 90.

Relax Eagles fans. We feel pretty certain that all of the Eagles selections are aware that they were taken by the Eagles. After all — they have all signed with the team.

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