Ward Cuff dies

Ward Cuff, who excelled at several positions for the Giants from 1937-45, passed away of heart failure on Christmas Eve in Vallejo, Calif. He was 89.

"We were contemporaries," Giants Co-Owner Wellington Mara said. "He came to
camp in 1937 as a rookie, and we roomed together from then on in camp and on
the road. Those were the days of train rides. He and I and Orville Tuttle and
Ed Danowski used to play cards over the course of a season. We'd settle up at
the end of the year, and someone might have won $5.

"I have a lot of fond memories of him. He was a terrific competitor."

Cuff joined the Giants as a fourth-round draft choice from Marquette. He
played wingback, fullback, halfback, defensive back and kicker for the
Giants. In 90 games over nine seasons, he rushed for 1,766 yards on 330
carries (a 5.3-yard average) and caught 101 passes for 1,477 yards. Cuff
scored 18 touchdowns (six rushing, 12 receiving) and made 31 of 70 field goal
attempts and 98 of 102 extra point tries. He also had a 12.1-yard punt return
average and 13 interceptions.

"He was a top player on offense and defense," Mara said. "He was responsible
for the league putting in the rule limiting the height of the kickoff tees.
We used to play on grass, and he would build the tee up and kick a
tremendously high kickoff. So much so that in a Washington game, which was a
big game, our guys were able to get down and score a safety after the
Washington kick returner dropped the ball and we tackled him in the end zone.

"I remember one game when we were playing the Chicago Bears. I think he was
blocking on a punt return, and he upended some guy. George Halas yelled at
him, `You're playing awfully rough, big fella.' Cuff's reply was, `Yeah, I
might hurt one of the those big guys.' (Coach) Steve Owen got a big kick out
of it."

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