June 1, 2017

Highlighted Year: Dean Derby, 1959

Defensive Halfback, Pittsburgh Steelers

Age: 24
3rd season in pro football & with Steelers
College: Washington
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 185

After a college career in which he starred on offense as well as defense, Derby was chosen by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round of the 1957 NFL draft with the intention of utilizing his speed in the defensive backfield. After reporting to training camp significantly underweight, he was traded to the Steelers where he made an impact on defense. He picked off four passes in 1958.

1959 Season Summary
Appeared in all 12 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Interceptions – 7 [1, tied with Milt Davis & Don Shinnick]
Int. return yards – 127 [2]
Int. TDs – 0
Fumble recoveries – 0

Kickoff Returns
Returns – 2
Yards – 32
Average per return – 16.0
TDs – 0
Longest return – 22 yards

Punt Returns
Returns – 9
Yards – 16
Average per return – 1.8
TDs – 0
Longest return – 10 yards

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: UPI, NY Daily News
2nd team All-NFL: AP
Pro Bowl

Steelers went 6-5-1 to finish fourth in the NFL Eastern Conference.

Derby followed up with three interceptions in 1960 and was considered to be a sure tackler as well as effective in pass coverage. He struggled in 1961 and was waived and picked up by the expansion Minnesota Vikings. He spent one last NFL season with Minnesota in 1962. Overall, Derby intercepted 21 passes, 14 of them with Pittsburgh. His loutstanding 1959 season remained his best.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)