Bert Bell D.1959 FB HOF signed Eagles payroll check to Dave Smukler D.1971

Dave Smukler (D. 1971 at age 56) also known as "Dynamite Dave", was an American football player who played in 38 National Football League games, mostly for the Philadelphia Eagles in the late 1930s. He was also the star player for the Temple University Owls in the inaugural Sugar Bowl game on January 1, 1935, in New Orleans, Louisiana.   He was born to Russian Jewish immigrants in Gloversville, NY.  

It was announced in August 1936 that Smukler had a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. Apparently, the contract was signed two months before, but it was not announced earlier due to the uncertainty of Smukler's injury. He played with the Eagles for four seasons from 1936 to 1939. During his first year he had a career-high of 99 rushes for 321 yards.

Steve Owen, coach of the New York Giants, identified the Eagles as one of the teams he most feared “because they are dangerous any time Dave Smukler, the erstwhile Temple Terror, carries the ball.” Apparently, team owner Bert Bell once said that nobody could stop Smukler “when he was having a good day.” On Oct. 2, 1938, the Eagles played the Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Municipal Stadium. The National Football League (NFL) program described Smukler as a “Powerhouse ball carrier and backer up on defense. Brilliant forward passer and terrific punter. Fifth best passer in the National Football League last year, completing 42 of 118 throws for a total gain of 432 yards. Carried ball from scrimmage 92 times to gain a total of 247 yards.”

After playing 34 games with the Eagles, Smukler was suspended in October 1939 for breaking training rules. When owner Bert Bell asked him why, Smukler allegedly told him, “I’m through with football.” Apparently, Smukler had broken training rules various times in the past. He had made a pledge to Bell that this would not happen again, only to break training once more. Bell said, “In my opinion, Dave was one of the greatest football players in professional football when he wanted to be. But I believe for the best interests of the team and myself we can do better without him as he was a demoralizing influence. He is a good boy but he just can’t keep his promises.”

In April 1940 he was traded to the Detroit Lions in exchange for two rookie players. However, Smukler decided to leave football and join the United States Army. He said, “I got $3,000 a year for playing football professionally. It was great during the season. Everybody shook your hand, slapped you on the back, and told you what a swell fellow you were. But the rest of the time, I couldn’t get a job.” Between football seasons Smukler could only make money doing piecework as a glove cutter. “It was enough to discourage any man, and I kept thinking about what I was going to do when I couldn’t play football anymore. I sat down and figured it out and then decided my best bet was the Army.”

Smukler was in active service for over three years. After serving as a first sergeant in Iceland, he received a medical discharge due to his old knee injury. He went back to work as a glove cutter in Gloversville and helped coach the football team at Gloversville High School. Smukler considered returning to football with the Detroit Lions, but he never appeared on their gridiron and was sold to the Boston Yanks in 1944. Smukler played only two games for the Yanks before ending his professional football career.

We offer an endorsed Eagles payroll check signed by Smukler and by HOFer Bert Bell (D. 1959) on the front.

Item: 12595

Price: $195.00
Bert Bell D.1959 FB HOF signed Eagles payroll check to Dave Smukler D.1971