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Lions Trade Ollie Matson and Floyd Peters for Offensive Tackle J.D. Smith

Apr. 10, 1964 - The Detroit Lions, seeking to strengthen their offensive line, traded today halfback Ollie Matson and defensive tackle Floyd Peters to the Philadelphia Eagles for J.D. Smith (pictured), offensive tackle.

Smith, a 6-foot–5-inch 250-pounder from Rice Institute, has been an offensive regular at Philadelphia since joining the club in 1959 as the team’s second-round draft choice. Detroit’s coach, George Wilson, will use him at right tackle, a position vacated by the death of Lucien Reeberg early this year. Smith will work with Daryl Sanders on the left, John Gordy and John Gonzaga at guard, and Bob Whitlow at center.

Peters was obtained from the Cleveland Browns in 1963 as a replacement for Alex Karras, who was suspended along with Paul Hornung of Green Bay by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. Peters was considered expendable after Rozelle reinstated Karras and Hornung. Peters and Smith are both 27.

Wilson called the trade “the most important move we’ve made in the off-season.” “We simply had to get more help at offensive tackle,” said Wilson. “From what we’ve seen and heard of Smith, he’s a first-rate player.” Smith came highly recommended by Sonny Grandelius, new Lion backfield coach, who was an assistant with the Eagles in 1962.

“We hated to give up Peters,” Wilson continued. “The guy did a fantastic job for us last year. But now that we have Karras back. Peters was open for trade. The Eagles got a man.”

The 34-year-old Matson will be reunited with his old collegiate coach Joe Kuharich. Kuharich coached at the University of San Francisco when Matson was the nation’s top college running back.

Last season, Matson was hampered by injuries, first pulling a muscle, then bruising his foot. He carried the ball only 13 times for 20 yards. During his 12-year pro career, he has picked up 4,545 yards in 1,010 carries.

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