Billy Cannon, Jr
William Abb Cannon Jr.
- Bats unknown, Throws unknown
- Height 6' 4", Weight 231 lb.
- School Texas A&M University
- High School Broadmoor High School
Billy Cannon Jr. is the son of former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon, who also played football professionally for a decade. In high school he was highly touted both as a baseball player - his position was shortstop - and football. His father tried to engineer his being selected by the New York Yankees in the 1980 amateur draft, in which he was a top prospect, by sending a letter to other teams that were interested in drafting his son, telling them he had decided to attend college, all the while meeting secretely with the Yankees to agree on a contract. The ploy seemed to work, as he fell into the Yankees' lap, who drafted him in the third round, but the other teams soon complained, and on June 26th, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn voided the selection, pointing to the misleading letters. A special draft was organized in which the Cleveland Indians selected him, but he made good on his promise to go to college, heading to Texas A&M.
In college, he concentrated on football, where he first was a receiver, then moved to safety and linebacker, also starring as a kick returner. He did continue to play baseball, as an outfielder. His wikipedia bio claims he was drafted again, but there is no trace of this in the draft database. In any case, football was his true calling, especially after the Dallas Cowboys made him their #1 selection with the 25th overall pick of the 1984 NFL draft. However, his career was short, as he suffered an injury in his eighth game that aggravated an existing spinal condition. He was forced to retire in order not to risk paralysis. He sued the Cowboys for allegedly ignoring earlier complaints he had made about experiencing numbness when making tackles; the suit was settled out of court in 1992.
The draft shenanigans were not his father's only brush with rule-breaking. In 1983, although a successful and wealthy orthodontist, he received a five-year federal prison sentence for taking part in a counterfeiting scheme.
- Michael Janofsky: "Billy Cannon Jr. quits at 23 with no regrets", The New York Times, March 29, 1985.