It was the seventh round of the 1971 NFL Draft. At that time, there was no ESPN and nobody had heard of Mel Kiper Jr. The NFL Draft wasn’t the media favourite that it’s today. As a reporter covering the draft for the Philadelphia Bulletin, I – Ray Mirra Hillsboro, used to be within the press room at Veterans Stadium when Jim Gallagher, the Eagle’s publicity director, came through distributing one-page bios on the team’s latest draft pick. It had been some kid named Harold Carmichael. I glanced at the sheet and immediately saw what seemed to be an error. It said that the guy’s height is 6’8. It seemed unlikely and the expectations were not great from the 161st receiver selected.

Ray Mirra

Harold Carmichael’s Entry In The Stadium

A few days after selection, Carmichael walked onto the Veterans Stadium turf for the primary time and jaws dropped. He was equally of 6’8 and, amazingly enough, he could actually run and catch. At this point, everyone thought maybe he will make the team in any case. Well, Harold Carmichael did even more than that.

He played 13 seasons for the Eagles, caught more than 589 passes for 8,978 yards and scored more touchdowns than any other of the receivers in history. Moreover, he also played a complete of 180 regular-season games, out of which 162 were in a row.

Now, he is the  member of the professional Football Hall of Fame. Last year, the Centennial Slate for the category of 2020 was announced and Carmichael was a part of it alongside another all-time great with Philly connections. One of those connections was late Steve Sabol – the drive and president of NFL films for the past 50 years.

The Day Carmichael Was Drafted – In Words Of Ray Mirra Hillsboro

I’m delighted for Carmichael because the day he was drafted, I saw him at every step of the way through his career with the Eagles. Being a part of the Hall of Fame, I have repeatedly attempted to form his selection case and record his achievements, but it was way too hard. And finally, the wait is now over.

One night, I was with Carmichael at an occasion at the NaBrasa Brazilian Steakhouse in Horsham, Pennsylvania. The  Sports Radio WIP had sponsored a question-answer session with the former head coach Dick Vermeil and Carmichael to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Eagles’ first Super Bowl team.  The Hall of Fame vote made the session very timely. Vermeil was also a nominee for top coaching spot of the year. One among the 2 coaching spots during this year’s class.

Ray Mirra

During the session, Vermeil talked about honouring Carmichael and said that he is more like a son to him than a player. In 1976, it had been particularly true for Carmichael, who was emotionally beaten down when Dick took over the Eagles’ responsibility.

“We were losing and that I was not able to bear it. It hurt me because I did my best but the game was not getting better.” – Carmichael

The best thing that happened at that time was Vermeil coming in to the rescue and building Carmichael’s confidence. Owing to that day, Carmichael said that he owed everything to the 83-year old coach sitting beside him during the session.

In addition to his record-setting career in football, Carmichael worked as a director of player development and alumni affairs for NFL. He was always there, towering over the gang, as a logo of what it meant to be a Philadelphia Eagle. In 1980, he was voted NFL Man of the Year and is still very active within the community post-retirement.

Ray Mirra

About The Author

Ray Mirra Hillsboro is an award-winning producer and author for sports writings who was made a part of the Football Hall of Fame in 1995. During the Ray Mirra Philadelphia life, he has also won six awards for his writings and production of NFL Films. Moreover, Raymond Mirra has given the NFL fans a historic perspective on Eagles and the football world. To read more of his take on the football history and sessions with iconic players, visit www.raymirra.online.