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Friday, April 18, 2003
Shanklin was Pro Bowl receiver for Steelers
Associated Press


DeSOTO, Texas -- Ron Shanklin, a former Pro Bowl receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, died after battling colon cancer for the past 2½ years.

Shanklin died Thursday morning at his home in DeSoto, a south Dallas suburb, his wife, Linda, told The Associated Press. He was 55.

The second player ever drafted by Pittsburgh coach Chuck Noll, right after Terry Bradshaw, Shanklin led the Steelers in receptions each of his first three seasons (1971-73). In 1974, he split time with future Hall of Famer Lynn Swann and was a member of a Super Bowl championship team.

Shanklin caught 166 passes for 3,047 yards (18.3 per catch) and 24 touchdowns with the Steelers. He stands 15th in franchise history in receptions, 10th in yards and tied for eighth in touchdowns.

His best season was 1973, when 10 of his 30 receptions were touchdowns and he led the NFL with a 23.7-yard average. He caught at least one touchdown pass in six consecutive games, was voted most valuable player by his teammates and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl. A neck injury kept him out of the game, however.

Shanklin's final NFL season was 1976 with the Chicago Bears.

"Ron Shanklin was a terrific player and was one of those guys who helped us make the transition from the late '60s to the Super Bowl championship teams of the '70s,'' Steelers president Dan Rooney said. "We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his wife, Linda, and family.''

He is a member of the North Texas and Texas Panhandle halls of fame. After his NFL career, Shanklin was a football coach at his alma mater, North Texas State, and the University of Houston.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Good Street Baptist Church in Dallas by Evergreen Memorial Funeral Home.

Shanklin is survived by his wife, Linda; two daughters, Ronda and Veronica; his mother and stepfather, Rose Marie and Mervyn Davis of Fairfield, Calif.; eight brothers; and three sisters.