Where Are They Now? Former Big Red Running Back Willis Crenshaw

Imagine what it would be like to play for the professional football team in the city where you were born and raised.

Willis Crenshaw didn’t have to imagine it. He lived it.

Crenshaw, who grew up in St. Louis’ Central West End, was a two-sport star for Soldan High School and a football player at Kansas State University for three years. The Cardinals selected Crenshaw in the ninth round of the 1963 NFL draft. A multi-talented offensive back who could run, block and catch, Crenshaw played six seasons for the Big Red (1964-69) before finishing his NFL career with the Denver Broncos (1970). 

What was it like playing in front of family and friends at Sportsman’s Park and, later, Busch Stadium—venues located only a few miles from his neighborhood?

“I felt fortunate to be able to do that because there were a lot of guys who wished that was their situation,” Crenshaw said. “The whole thing was just an amazing experience for me.”

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