High School to the Pros
Seldom do you see an athlete make a professional sports team out of high school. After all most players continue through prep and college programs and even spend time in the minor leagues. Ken Steinmetz was a whale of a fullback on his high school team at Aldrich High School. He also earned 8 letters in athletics. He was recruited by ranked college programs in the South but declined. After graduating for two years not once did he don cleats. Instead he was working a radial drill in a Rhode Island machine shop along with some basketball each winter. He wanted to catch on with some semi-pro teams but couldn't find one he could play with. Then Steinmetz, barely past his 20th birthday, reported to the NFL's Boston Yanks training camp at Dean Academy in 1944. He impressed the staff so much that he made the squad occasionally playing both defense and offense. He became one of the youngest to play in the NFL at the time but also may have been the first ever to jump from high school to the pros. He played a total of 18 games over 2 seasons for the Yanks. He finished playing for the Long Island Indians (1946-47) of the AFL, a minor league football league playing 10 games at full back and the Providence Steam Roller during the team's run to the New England Professional Conference Championship in 1947.