Two-sports star played six years in the NFL with the New York Giants
Thomas Scott Eaton, a Medford High School graduate who played six seasons in the NFL, died Oct. 1 at his home in Bellevue, Washington. He was 77 years old.
Born August 20, 1944, Eaton was a star of two sports for Medford High before moving to football and basketball in the state of Oregon. With the Beavers, Eaton first played basketball and then exhausted his remaining eligibility on the football field.
A trade cornerback, Eaton was drafted in the eighth round of the 1966 NFL / AFL Draft by the New York Giants. He was also drafted by the Detroit Pistons, but chose to play football professionally.
Eaton, who also played it safe with the Giants, was forced to retire at the age of 28 in 1973 when he suffered an injury that resulted in a double vision of a tackle on a teammate during the ‘a scrum at training camp.
“Double vision scares me,” Eaton told The New York Times. “It’s hard for me to play tennis or golf so I don’t see how I’m going to play football. I’ll miss the game.
In his 60 games with the Giants, Eaton made 53 starts and recorded 11 interceptions.
Eaton’s son, Tracey, also played in the NFL for six seasons, playing for the Houston Oilers, Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons after playing college at Portland State.
In a unique twist, father and son were the 187th pick in their respective draft, with Tracey having been selected in the seventh round of the 1988 draft. Tracey, like her father, was also a defensive back.
“I can still hear stories of what an athlete was. He did it all, ”said Tracey Eaton. “We were best friends. He and I have fished together several times, usually in southern Oregon with our favorite fishing guide.
Scott Eaton, a member of the OSU Pac-8 Conference basketball team in 1966, was inducted into the Beavers Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1993.
Both Eatons are members of the Medford Sports Hall of Fame.
While still in the NFL, he spent his offseason as a stockbroker, a profession he became full-time after his early retirement. He spent almost four decades working as a broker and retired in 2006.
In his spare time, Scott Eaton enjoyed fishing and hunting with his friends and family in southern Oregon.
He is survived by his wife, Cindy, four children, Tracey, Jennifer, Kristine and Joe, his sister Sally and his brother Tim. He had nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
“He always had fond memories of Medford,” said Tracey Eaton. “A piece of his heart has always been here (in southern Oregon). I wanted to pay tribute to him and bought a seat here in the Applegate River. It is one of his favorite rivers where he grew up fishing. He was a great dad and we just had a great time together.
Contact Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.