|No. 20, 41|
|Born:||May 1, 1936|
|Died:||April 23, 2015 (aged 78)|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||196 lb (89 kg)|
|High school:||Tustin (Tustin, California)|
|NFL Draft:||1959 / Round: 13 / Pick: 149|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
James William Steffen (May 1, 1936 – April 23, 2015) was an American football defensive back in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. He was drafted in the thirteenth round of the 1959 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He initially enrolled at Occidental College to play football. He transferred to Santa Ana College after his freshman season, where he played basketball and baseball. He then moved on to Orange Coast College, where he played baseball.
Steffen finally transferred to UCLA in 1956. After sitting out for a year, he walked on to the football team as a junior. Even though he was only 5' 10" and weighted less than 190 pounds, he was a tenacious tackler who played both defensive end and offensive end.
Washington Redskins (first stint)
In 1961, he played right cornerback in 6 games with 4 starts, while also returning kickoffs and punts. In 1962, he was moved to left cornerback, starting all 14 games, while making 4 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries.
In 1963, he was switched to strong safety, starting 13 games and had 5 interceptions. On September 29, in a game against the Dallas Cowboys, he made 3 interceptions, returning one for a franchise record 78-yard touchdown. He also was recognized as one of the best tacklers in the league.
In 1966, he suffered a punctured lung, a separated clavicle and 3 broken ribs in the first half of the preseason game against the Baltimore Colts. The injuries forced him to miss 6 weeks. On August 30, he was traded along with a fifth round pick (#119-Willie Parker) to the Cowboys, in exchange for Brig Owens, Jake Kupp, and Mitch Johnson.
In 1966, he couldn't play because of his previous injuries and was placed on the taxi squad. In 1967, he was re-signed by the Cowboys. He was converted into a weakside linebacker until suffering a right knee injury during training camp. He was released on August 25.
Washington Redskins (second stint)
- "Lions Give Up Steffen and Get Whitlow". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- "Redskins lose two to injuries from Colt game". Lake Charles American-Press. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- "Washington's Brig Owen Now Happy With Defense". Herald-Journal. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- "Steffen Released By Cowboys". The Free Lance-Star. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- "Steffen Signs With Redskins". The Times from Shreveport. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- "NFL AFL Grid Notes Via Camps". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved August 15, 2020.