Baltimore won its second NFL title in 1959 but failed to make the championship game in 1960, and in July '61, to the shock of Colts fans, the 29-year-old Lipscomb was the key player in a five-man deal that sent him and center Buzz Nutter to the Steelers for Jimmy Orr, the promising flanker with the gifted hands, and two warm bodies. Ewbank said Baltimore had to deal Lipscomb to get Orr, but Winner says Lipscomb was dealt in part because so much trouble tracked him off the field. "It was always something," Winner says. "Money problems. Legal and personal problems." (Lipscomb was often served legal papers for failing to make child-support payments. His top NFL salary was $14,000, which he supplemented with his off-season income from pro wrestling.)
He had intertwined his courtships like a braid. When Lipscomb joined the Colts in the fall of '56, he began courting Cecelia Williams, who would become his third wife. But on a California road trip that October, according to court documents, he sought a reconciliation with his first wife, Ophelia, to whom he was still legally married, and he got her pregnant. (Their second child, a son, Raymond, would be born the next July.) Big Daddy moved in with Ophelia at the end of that season but left her almost immediately, in December, the month their divorce went through. He called Cecelia in Baltimore and asked her, "Is it all right if I stay with you?"
Cecelia took him in, and they were married on May 19, 1957 She never knew about his attempt to reconcile with Ophelia, and he never told her of his bigamy. ("Well, I'll be damned," she said when SI informed her of it recently.) She divorced him on June 10, 1960, on grounds of abandonment and "misconduct with other women," but she says he never physically harmed her. On the contrary, she says, "He was a good provider. He brought all his money home, and he was very generous. I wasn't denied anything." What she could not abide, she says, was his chronic infidelity, the phone calls from women asking for him.
"Who are you?" Cecelia would ask.
"Who are you?" the voice would ask back.
Sleepless in Pittsburgh, he sated his appetites with unbridled zeal. In quarterback Bobby Layne and other Steelers roughnecks, Lipscomb had new drinking pals. After practices they would repair to the South Park Inn, where Layne would buy everyone except Lipscomb a drink. "He would buy Big Daddy a whole bottle of VO," says Pat Livingston, who covered the team for the Pittsburgh Press.
Lipscomb's libidinous adventures in Pittsburgh became the stuff of lore. When defensive back Brady Keys drove by Big Daddy's place in the morning to pick him up for work, an orgy was often in progress. "There would be three or four women, and they would be half naked," Keys says. "Big Daddy had enough energy for them all. He was always drunk. And he always had cash lying all over the place. Big Daddy did three things: He drank, he screwed, and he dominated football games."
Big Daddy was as popular in Pittsburgh as he had been in Baltimore. He had two exceptional seasons with the Steelers, at the end of which, in the '63 Pro Bowl, he turned in one of the greatest performances of his career: 11 tackles, two forced fumbles and one blocked pass. Lions guard Harley Sewell faced him across the line, and for the first time in his career Sewell felt helpless. "Big Daddy was just running over me, throwing me around, coming and blowing snot, and anything I tried to do, he countered."
Four months later, still surfing the high of that performance, Big Daddy told Geraldine Young, "Know what, Sweetie Cakes? I'm becoming a real football player."
Lipscomb lived his off-seasons in Baltimore, and by May '63 he had begun to renew his romance with Cecelia. They even talked about getting married again. On the night of Wednesday, May 8, they slept together at her place. He left her on Thursday morning and ran into her at a record shop that afternoon. He told her he was pitching in a softball game that night. That was the last time she saw him.