Charlie Tolar, 65; ‘Human Bowling Ball’ for Houston Oilers

From Staff and Wire Reports

Houston Oilers running back Charlie Tolar, a 5-foot-6, 210-pound running back from Northwestern State in Louisiana who was known as the “human bowling ball” for his willingness to “run through a brick wall to get one yard,” as fellow Oiler Bob Talamini put it this week, died of cancer Monday in Houston. He was 65.

“He was so tough,” Talamini told the Houston Chronicle. “He played with the kind of injuries that kept other players on the sideline. Charlie would have it wrapped and shot up, and he’d be on the field.”

Also sometimes called “Tank,” Tolar was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. He played with the Oilers from 1960, the first year of the American Football League, until 1966.

Tolar was named to three AFL all-star teams in the early 1960s, and in 1962 was the team’s offensive most valuable player, with 1,012 yards and 244 carries.