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November 2019

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6/05/2019 12:22 pm  #1

Remembering a Duquesne Legacy

As the 75th anniversary of D-Day tomorrow, I thought it would be great to remember one of DU greatest football players of all time.  Al Demao, Duquesne All American, War Hero, All Pro ….from his obituary

Al Demao, 87, a stalwart center on offense and middle linebacker on defense for the postwar Washington Redskins, died Feb. 1 2008 of pneumonia at Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie.A Bowie resident, Mr. Demao was well known in the Washington area not only as a Redskins player but also as a salesman and later an executive with a liquor distributor. He also was a founder of the Redskins Alumni Association in 1957 and the NFL alumni organization in 1967.

He was named one of the 70 greatest Redskins in 2002.

Considered a big man then at 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, Mr. Demao snapped the ball for Slingin' Sammy Baugh in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He also played on special teams.

"He was a complete ballplayer," said teammate Joe Tereshinski Sr., a Redskins end from 1947 to 1954. "He could do anything you asked of him."

Albert Marcellus Demao, born in New Kensington, Pa., near Pittsburgh, was an all-American center on an undefeated team at Duquesne University, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1942. He played in the 1941 Blue-Gray Game and the College All-Star Game and was drafted by the Redskins.

Before he could report, however, he had a Navy obligation to fulfill. Mr. Demao, a lieutenant, was a landing craft skipper who made nine landings on D-Day on the beach at Normandy. He recalled in later years the bullets whizzing overhead and the young men clambering out of the craft he was piloting. He also recalled one trip to the beach in which the landing plank got stuck. The big man from Duquesne managed to wrench it down through brute force. He was awarded the Silver Star. He and his crew were preparing for the invasion of Japan when the war ended.

When he reported to the Redskins in midseason in 1945, he hadn't touched a football in four years. He had less than a week to work out.On the opening kickoff of his first game, against the Boston Yanks, "I started downfield and went about 20 yards when my legs just buckled under me," he told The Washington Post in 1954. "It was the darndest feeling, and I was more than a little embarrassed over that first pro play."He went on to play nine seasons, averaging nearly 60 minutes a game. "We had 32 players on the roster, and the best players did everything," he recalled years later in an interview with the Daily Press of Newport News. "I don't ever recall feeling tired during a game."He was a Pro Bowl selection in 1950, a disappointing season for the Redskins. That year, Mr. Demao and fellow veterans Baugh and Tereshinski called a players-only meeting in the locker room after a Friday practice. Baugh reportedly "bawled out" the squad for its poor play in back-to-back losses against the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team lost to the New York Giants two days later.

 The Redskins honored Mr. Demao with an Al Demao Day at Griffith Stadium in 1952. Fans presented him with a new Pontiac.He suffered three broken ribs against the Chicago Bears during the 1954 season, which persuaded him to retire. The injury occurred when he raced downfield on a punt and got to the Bears' speedy Eddie Macon about the same time the ball did. Macon juggled the ball, and Mr. Demao stole it out of his hands and ended up under a pile of Bears."Macon probably was peeved with himself over losing the ball," Mr. Demao told The Post, "and he kneed me maybe a little harder than he normally would have. That's really when the ribs were cracked."

Tereshinski recalled that back then most players made less than $10,000 a year, which meant many held off-season jobs. Mr. Demao's job was with Milton S. Kronheim & Co., a liquor distributor, where he was a top salesman and eventually vice president of sales for the company's restaurant and hotel division. He retired in 1986.

He also was deeply involved for many years with charitable groups and activities, including the Gallaudet Special Olympics, fundraising for muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis organizations, the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation.He founded the Redskins Welcome Home Luncheon. A former member of the board of NFL Alumni, he participated in fundraising programs for needy former players."He was very generous with both his time and his money," Tereshinski said. "He helped everyone who came his way." He also helped out with the St. John's College High School football team and coached Catholic Youth Organization and Boys Club teams.


6/05/2019 2:15 pm  #2

Re: Remembering a Duquesne Legacy

Outstanding post CLK and I certainly knew of Al DeMao  football great and recall him being in attendance for our victory at Catholic university in 1977 but I had no idea of the specifics of his military heroism! Thanks again for one of the great posts about a true Duquesne and American hero!


6/06/2019 10:52 am  #3

Re: Remembering a Duquesne Legacy

Thanks Judge.  Duquesne has some strong football roots.  That 1941 team would have finished ranked #1 using the BCS ranking system from a few years ago, 

Also, it does not surprise me he was at your game in DC.  He was very proud of DU and despite all the rings he was awarded, I remember he always wore his big red DU ring most proudly.  

Last edited by CLK (6/06/2019 10:53 am)

     Thread Starter

6/06/2019 1:02 pm  #4

Re: Remembering a Duquesne Legacy

Thanks for posting this tribute, CLK.


6/09/2019 4:40 am  #5

Re: Remembering a Duquesne Legacy

Amazing tributemto an amazing man. 


Attitude is everything

6/10/2019 7:10 pm  #6

Re: Remembering a Duquesne Legacy

Attitude is everything

6/10/2019 7:12 pm  #7

Re: Remembering a Duquesne Legacy

Attitude is everything

6/12/2019 6:23 pm  #8

Re: Remembering a Duquesne Legacy

Thanks Coffee.  I remember reading an article on your website a few years back about that 1941 team.  That was where I got the information about that team being ranked #1 using the old BCS ranking system.  If you still have that article I think some here may enjoy it.  

     Thread Starter

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