What Willard Scott needs to know
Dana turns 100 on Aug. 7 but was only recently recognized as the NFL's oldest living alumnus because league historians had believed that the Kenmore, N.Y., resident had been dead for 34 years. (Dana played as Sam Salemi—he changed his name because people made salami jokes about it—and a man with a similar name died in 1969.) Dana's son, Bob, discovered the error in Total Football, and in March he contacted the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Pride of the Yankees
Dana, a running back and defensive back, played five NFL games and caught a touchdown pass for the New York Yankees in 1928, his only pro season. He also played college ball at Columbia, where in 1922 he shared the backfield with a young fullback named Lou Gehrig. "I met him when I showed up to practice," says Dana. "I was warned about tackling him head-on, but I took a chance. He gave me a nice bone bruise."
Dana, who was an IRS special agent before retiring in 1969, was invited to the Bills' minicamp in May; there he spun yarns about punting with Gehrig—"He was very good, kicking 50, 55 yards with a beautiful spiral"—and the good old old days when you stayed on the field at any price. "If a player came out of the game," Dana proudly recalls, "he couldn't be put back in."