As one of the best offensive linemen in Chargers history, Walt Sweeney was the No. 2 overall pick of the 1963 AFL Draft. During his rookie season, he was part of the only Chargers team to ever win a championship. That year, the Bolts beat the then-Boston Patriots 51-10 in the AFL Championship Game at old Balboa Stadium.
Though that would be his only taste of a championship, he excelled at his position of guard for years to come. Sweeney made either the AFL All-Star Game or the Pro Bowl every year from 1964 through 1972. He was named a First-Team All-Pro in 1967 and 1968 and was also chosen as a member of the AFL’s All-Time Second Team.
Sweeney finished his career with the Washington Redskins, but is remembered for his time in San Diego as part of the team’s Hall of Fame, as well as its 50th Anniversary Team.
But Sweeney wasn’t in love with the NFL after the conclusion of his playing career. A harsh critic of the league due to helping start his own drug use and for not taking care of its players, Sweeney would later go on to sue the NFL. His resentment toward the league lasted until his untimely death in 2013 as the result of pancreatic cancer.
Still for his time on the playing field, Sweeney was a guy that intimidated and pushed around opponents. Merlin Olsen, one of the best defensive linemen of that era, complimented Sweeney by once saying he’d “rather sell used cars” than to face Sweeney every Sunday.