Ray Donaldson
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Ray Donaldson
Ray Donaldson
No. 53
Personal information
Born: (1958-05-18) May 18, 1958 (age 61)
Rome, Georgia
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:311 lb (141 kg)
Career information
High school:Rome (GA) East
NFL Draft:1980 / Round: 2 / Pick: 32
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games Played:244
Games Started:228
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Ray Canute Donaldson (born May 18, 1958) is a former American football Center in the National Football League for the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at the University of Georgia.

Early years

Donaldson attended East Rome High School where he participated in basketball and football, playing as a linebacker, fullback and tight end. As a senior, he received High School All-American and All-State honors. His jersey has since been retired.

He entered the University of Georgia with the intention of playing linebacker, but as a sophomore after the fifth game of the season, because of injuries, he made a seamless transition to center. He also played guard during his time in college.

As a senior, he was an All-American and an All-Southeastern Conference selection. He also played in the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.

In 2006, he was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. In 2010, he was inducted into the Rome Sports Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Baltimore Colts

Donaldson, was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the second round (32nd overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he was a reserve offensive lineman (center & guard), ranking second on the team with 7 special teams tackles.

The next year, he was named the starting center and it is believed that he also became the first starting African-American center in NFL History.[1] He still played on the punt coverage unit, making one tackle and one assist.

In 1983, he was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl, while helping the team lead the AFC with 2,695 rushing yards. He played with the Colts for 13 years and made the Pro Bowl 4 straight seasons from 1986 to 1989.

Donaldson's only playoff experience with the Colts came in 1987. In 1991, he suffered a broken fibula and was lost for the season after the third game against the Los Angeles Raiders, snapping a streak of 61 consecutive games played and started since the 1987 strike.

On February 18, 1993, he was released at the age of 35.[2] He left the team ranked third in franchise history in games played (184). To this day, he is still tied for second-place all-time for years of service with the team, trailing only Johnny Unitas who spent 17 years with the franchise.

Seattle Seahawks

On April 20, 1993, Donaldson signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks and anchored an offensive line that helped the team lead the AFC in rushing for the first time in franchise history with 2,015 yards.[3] The next year, he helped Chris Warren rank first in the AFC with 1,545 rushing yards.

Dallas Cowboys

Needing help at center after Mark Stepnoski left to the Houston Oilers, the Dallas Cowboys signed Donaldson as an unrestricted free agent on March 20, 1995.[4] That season, he was the NFL's oldest starting center until suffering a broken right ankle and being placed on the injured reserve list, snapping a string of 60 consecutive starts. He was replaced by Derek Kennard and missed the last 4 regular season games and all of the playoffs, including Super Bowl XXX. Donaldson contributed to the offensive line breaking a team record by allowing just 18 sacks in a season and to Emmitt Smith winning his fourth rushing title, score an NFL record 25 rushing touchdowns and gain a club record 1,773 rushing yards.

In 1996, he started 16 games in a line that led the league in allowing the fewest sacks with 19. Donaldson was released for salary cap reasons in the 1997 off-season.[5] During his time with the Cowboys, he experienced a career renaissance, making the Pro Bowl both seasons.[6] He was also part of a formidable offensive line that included: Larry Allen, Nate Newton, Mark Tuinei and Erik Williams.

Personal life

He currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana where he is a high school football coach. His cousin Robert Lavette was an NFL player for the Dallas Cowboys.


  1. ^ "Former UGA Center Ray Donaldson Selected To Georgia Sports Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ "Colts waive Donaldson". Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "Donaldson, Seahawks agree". Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ "Cowboys sign Donaldson to replace Stepnoski at center". Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "Donaldson given release by Cowboys". Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ "Deion, Novacek Among Best Free-Agent Signings in Cowboys History". Retrieved 2016.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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