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Andy Spiva

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Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: March 27, 1954
Place of birth: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Date of death: April 3, 1979(1979-04-03) (aged 25)
Place of death: Atlanta, Georgia
Career information
College: Tennessee
NFL draft: 1977 / Round: 5 / Pick: 135
Career history

Howard Andrew "Andy" Spiva (February 6, 1955 – April 3, 1979) was an American football player for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He appeared in 13 games for the Falcons in 1977. He was killed in a car accident. Teammate Garth TenNapel was in the same vehicle and was seriously injured.

Biography

Spiva was born on February 6, 1955 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He attended Chamblee High School in Chamblee, Georgia. the University of Tennessee.[1] At Tennessee, Spiva was a two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection.[2] He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth round of the 1977 NFL draft.[1]

Spiva was released by St. Louis that year when the team made its final preseason cuts.[3] He was signed by the Atlanta Falcons shortly thereafter.[4] Falcons coach Leeman Bennett said that the team had become impressed with Spiva when they played Spiva and the Cardinals in a preseason game.[5]

He played in 13 games for the Falcons in 1977.[1] Prior to the 1978 season, Spiva was the top middle linebacker on Atlanta's depth chart before suffering a preseason knee injury.[6] He underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments a few days after sustaining the injury.[7]

On April 3, 1979, Spiva was driving in rainy conditions when his sports car slid off of a street in the Atlanta area and it collided with a tree. Spiva died at an Atlanta hospital that day after sustaining head and chest injuries. His teammate Garth TenNapel was seriously injured in the crash.[8] Spiva and TenNapel had been close friends since going through knee rehabilitation together the previous year.[6]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Andy Spiva". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Falcons mourn death of linebacker Spiva". Gadsden Times. April 4, 1979. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Andy Spiva dies after auto crash". Schenectady Gazette. April 4, 1979. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Wednesday transactions". The Gettysburg Times. September 22, 1977. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Spiva signed". Rome News-Tribune. September 22, 1977. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Spiva killed in accident". Observer–Reporter. April 4, 1979. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Spiva has long, hard time ahead". Rome News-Tribune. August 22, 1978. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Falcons' Andy Spiva dies". Times-News (Hendersonville, North Carolina). April 4, 1979. Retrieved September 6, 2014.