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Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

FLASHBACK: 1964 – Lombardo signs Eagle contract

(NOTE: This article was written by Cam Papara and originally appeared in the Sunday, June 28, 1964, Racine Sunday Bulletin.)

FlashbackTony Lombardo, the line-cracking Racine Raiders flanker who led Central States Football League scorers last season with 13 touchdowns, is going to get an opportunity to play National Football League ball with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The former Watertown High School gridder, now a West Allis resident, signed a $7,500 contract with the Eagles here and will report for training on July 12.

The contract was mailed by Philadelphia coach Joe Kuharich to Frank Schinkowitch, former Raiders’ coach who acted as the Eagles’ agent in the contract-signing rights.

Has Speed

Lombardo, who just turned 23, packs 195 pounds on a 5-11 frame. He has good speed, handles the ball well, and moves with power. Lombardo has run the 100 yard distance in 10 seconds with full football gear, except for the helmet.

If Lombardo makes the Eagles’s squad, he will be the second Raider to reach the big leagues in recent years. The first was halfback Dave Smith, the Ripon College standout, who spent a year with the Racine team before signing on with the Houston Oilers of the American Football League in 1960.

Lombardo, a cabinet maker by trade, has spent two years here with the Raiders and also played two years of Army football after graduating from Waterford.

Versatile Player

With the Raiders, big Tony has proven versatile. He did the team’s punting and from time to time, played linebacker on defense.

Schinkowitch believes that Lombardo’s best bet with the Eagles is as a safety man because of his speed and sure tackling.

Wigs Konicek, player personnel director for the Raiders, and Schinkowitch made several contacts on Lombardo’s behalf and the Eagles were the first to respond. The $7,500 payment, of course, hinges on Lombardo’s ability to stick with the Eagles.

Harry Gilbert, who assumes the Raiders’ head coaching chores for the first time this fall, viewed the situation with mixed feelings.

“Naturally, I’m happy for Tony,” said Gilbert. “I’d be tickled to see him make it with the Eagles. But I know we’re going to miss him this fall!”

Lombardo has lifted weights during the spring months and has done considerable running on his own to get himself in top shape in the event opportunity beckoned.

They’ve Never Met

Schinkowitch has steered several other players to Kuharich when the latter was head football coach at San Francisco University and Notre Dame. Oddly, while the two are on a friendly, first name basis, they’ve never met personally.

“But we sound like old buddies on the telephone,” grinned Schinkowitch, who has been a talent scout for Kuharich for some 15 years.