59 Days: A Look Back at All-American George Lilja

We are officially under the 60 day mark until kick off! Let’s start off with #59 George Lilja, an All-American Center from Evergreen Park, Illinois.

College
  • Played center during career at Michigan.
  • For his last two seasons, he started 24 straight games.
  • He was named All-American by Walter Camp, along with 2nd Team All-American and 2nd Team Big Ten Conference by numerous media outlets.
  • In 1980, he was named co-Captain with Anthony Carter.
  • Received the University’s Myer Morton Award in 1980.
  • Lilja was a member of the 1980 Big Ten Champion team.
  • Won the 1981 Rose Bowl over Washington, 23-6, making it the first bowl win for Bo Schembechler.
NFL
  • Was drafted in the 4th Round of the 1981 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams.
  • After playing one season with the Rams, he was traded to the New York Jets(1983-1984).
  • Lilja played in the NFL for six seasons with a total of four teams(Rams, Jets, Browns, and Cowboys), accounting for 54 games.
  • Was on the 1986 Cleveland Browns during their 12-4 season and AFC Game appearance.
  • While on the Browns, he played left tackle. He assist in their season mark of 2,000+ yards rushing performance(Kevin Mack-1,104, Earnest Byner-1,002 ).
Life After Football
  • Lilja is married with four children.¬†Currently resides in Warren, PA.
  • He is active in the Christian Group for Athletes with his five brothers and two sisters.
  • He not related to Super Bowl XLI winner Ryan Lilja.

Go Blue!

TWD Staff

Stories contributed by staff members of The Wolverine Daily.