February 22, 2013

Rookie of the Year: Raymond Chester, 1970


Tight End, Oakland Raiders



Age: 22
College: Morgan State
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 220

Prelude:
With veteran Billy Cannon coming up on his 11th season and backup Roger Hagberg having died tragically in an auto accident, the Raiders were in the market for a tight end. They took Chester in the first round of the 1970 NFL draft (24th overall), impressed with the speed he brought to the position. Cannon was let go, thus making room for the rookie in the starting lineup.

1970 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 42      
Most receptions, game – 8 (for 110 yds.) vs. Washington 10/19
Yards – 556
Most yards, game - 110 (on 8 catches) vs. Washington 10/19
Average gain – 13.2
TDs – 7 [9, tied with Fred Biletnikoff, Roy Jefferson & Jack Snow]
100-yard receiving games – 2

Scoring
TDs – 7 [18, tied with nine others]
Points – 42

Postseason: 2 G
Pass receptions – 4
Most pass receptions, game – 2 vs. Miami, AFC Divisional playoff; at Baltimore, AFC Championship
Pass receiving yards – 83
Most receiving yards, game – 47 vs. Miami, AFC Divisional playoff
Average yards per reception – 20.8
Pass Receiving TDs - 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL Rookie of the Year: NEA
2nd team All-AFC: UPI
Pro Bowl

Raiders went 8-4-2 to finish first in the AFC West while leading the NFL in total offense (4829 yards). Won AFC Divisional playoff over Miami Dolphins (21-14). Lost AFC Championship to Baltimore Colts (27-17).

Aftermath:
Chester went to the Pro Bowl after the 1971 and ’72 seasons, although his numbers were below those of his first year. But while his output was 62 catches over those two seasons, 15 of them went for touchdowns. He was dealt to the Baltimore Colts for DE Bubba Smith in 1973 and, over the course of five seasons with them, caught 148 passes for 2122 yards and 11 TDs. Chester returned to the Raiders in 1978 and, in ’79, achieved NFL career highs in pass receptions (58) and yards (712) while earning a fourth Pro Bowl selection. His second stint with the Raiders came to an end in 1981, but in ’83 he played for the Oakland Invaders of the USFL and caught 68 passes for 951 yards and five TDs to earn All-League honors, after which he retired. For his 12-year NFL career, he had 364 pass receptions for 5013 yards (13.8 avg.) and 48 touchdowns.

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Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year). 

[Updated 2/4/14]

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