Alan Cedric Page was born on August 7, 1945, in Canton, Ohio. Drafted by the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL in 1967, he was named Rookie of the Year that same year and eventually helped lead the team to four Super Bowl appearances. Following his NFL retirement, Page, who'd earned his legal degree in 1978, became a judge, and was named Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1993.
Alan Cedric Page was born on August 7, 1945, in Canton, Ohio, moving with his family to East Canton at the age of 9. While attending Central Catholic High School, Page played the tuba and grew out of a rangy, sometimes awkward body into an athletic force for the school's football team. He graduated in 1963, and that fall landed at the University of Notre Dame on a football scholarship. As part of a program noted for its winning tradition, Page became an integral member of the "Fighting Irish" defense line and helped lead the team to a 1966 national championship, earning himself All-American honors in the process.
In the 1967 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected Page in the first round. He quickly acclimated to professional football, earning Rookie of the Year honors while anchoring the so-called "Purple People Eaters"—one of the most feared defensive lines in the NFL at that time.
Small for a defensive lineman, but quick, Page helped lead the Vikings to four Super Bowl appearances and was named an All-Pro for eight consecutive seasons, between 1970 and 1977. In 1971 the NFL named him its league MVP, only the second defensive lineman ever to win the award.
During this time, Page was also an active member of the NFL Players Association and was instrumental in leading the successful fight for better pay and benefits, as well as free agency.
In 1978, Minnesota released Page, who had had taken up marathon running and had, Viking coaches felt, dropped too much weight to be an effective defensive lineman. The Chicago Bears quickly signed him, however, and Page spent the last four years of his career with that team.
Page never missed a game in his NFL career and held a record for safeties and blocked kicks. In 1981, during the final contest of his career, he registered 3.5 quarterback sacks. In 1988 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his hometown of Canton.
In 1978, Page, who had already been considering a legal career while still playing in the NFL, earned a law degree from the University of Minnesota and a year later went into private practice. In 1985, four years after his retirement from football, Page joined the Minnesota attorney general's office, and in 1993 he was named an associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Throughout his legal career Page has been an active advocate for advancing education opportunities to children.
Personal Life and Legacy
Page is married to his long-time wife, Diane Sims, with the couple having a combined family of four children. (Page has two children from his previous marriage.) The story of Page's unusual career as both NFL star and Supreme Court Justice was told in the 2010 biography by Bill McGrane, All Rise: The Remarkable Journey of Alan Page. The book includes a foreword by President Bill Clinton.
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