The NFL has been home to plenty of people who’ve lived some pretty fascinating lives, but it’s hard to top the wild journey former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall took through life.
Most NFL fans probably know Marshall best for the infamous “The Wrong-Way Run,” which transpired when he scooped up a fumble and succumbed to the brain fart that saw him run it back into his own end zone for what was officially ruled a safety during a game against the 49ers in 1964.
However, that play doesn’t even come close to defining the career of a man who spent 19 seasons in the NFL and was inducted into Minnesota’s Ring of Honor thanks in no small part to the football prowess he routinely showcased as part of the Vikings’ legendary “Purple People Eaters” defensive line.
Marshall also managed to make plenty of headlines thanks to what transpired off of the gridiron.
He was one of 16 people who ended up lost in the Wyoming wilderness after getting caught in a blizzard during an ill-fated snowmobile trip in Wyoming in 1971 (including one who died from exposure), although they were rescued after burning money to stay warm.
He also had some close calls with death—he once lost 50 pounds after coming down with encephalitis stemming from a mosquito bite and narrowly avoided choking on a grape that got lodged in his throat—but nothing tops the story of the time he accidentally shot himself and still managed to suit up for a game the same week.
Jim Marshall didn’t let shooting himself in the stomach stop him from playing in an NFL game
When Marshall retired in 1979, he held the NFL record for the most consecutive games played (282) and started (270), although those marks were eventually (and respectively) passed by Jeff Feagle and Brett Favre.
However, the fact he was able to set the record in the first place was particularly impressive when you consider what unfolded in 1964.
Marshall had a fairly rough-and-tumble upbringing, as he admitted to stealing (and selling) hubcaps and running a bookmaking operation when he was playing high school football in Columbus, Ohio.
While he played at Ohio State University, he opted to take his talents to the CFL after the Saskatchewan Roughriders offered him a $10,000 one-year contract, and the fact that he routinely carried large sums of money with him when he was playing in the NFL led him to also carrying a gun on his person for protection.
Marshall had a sizeable collection of firearms, and in 1964, he was struck by the buckshot that ended up lodged in the side of his abdomen when a shotgun he was cleaning went off. However, that wasn’t enough to prevent him from suiting up for a game later that week to preserve the streak that would remain intact for another 15 years.
Jim Marshall: Confirmed Football Guy.