Scott Fitzkee graduated from Red Lion High School in 1975 and went on to play football at Penn State and the NFL. He was one of a number of York County athletes to play professional sports. Background posts:
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“He was arguably the most talented three-sport athlete ever to come out of York and Adams counties.”
That’s how the York Daily Record/Sunday News’ Greatest Athletes series describes three-sport Red Lion start Scott Fitzkee.
That selection is also certain to draw controversy, but the Greatest Athletes description makes the case for Fitzkee’s accomplishments in football, basketball and track. He went on to play wide receiver for Penn State and then the Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers in the NFL, before ending his career in the USFL… .
Former York County Commissioner Ron Fitzkee, right, has remained active in the community. Here, acting on behalf of the Red Lion Lions Club, he presents an award to Red Lion Area Senior High School senior Jason Kraft in 2007.
In gaining the top spot on Red Lion’s list, he beat out his father, Ron Fitzee, who finished fourth.
Ron Fitzkee, longtime area educator, gained a county commissioner seat in the late 1980s and has been active around the community for years.
Frank Bodani, architect of the the Greatest Athletes Series, wrote the following about Scott Fitzkee in 2005:
Scott Fitzkee was driving and talking on his cell phone, remembering back.
It’s been 24 years and a bunch of concussions since the Red Lion Area Senior High School graduate was a wide receiver on the Philadelphia Eagles’ only other Super Bowl team.
It was a bittersweet moment for the Penn State star. He traveled to New Orleans only to see his team lose.
And he had to watch on crutches with a broken foot.
“I wanted to play,” he said. “I’m sure I was depressed. I just remember how Oakland put it to us.
“But I was part of the team and helped contribute to getting us there. How many thousands of guys play and never get the opportunity to go there?”
Fitzkee’s career began rising in the early 1970s at Red Lion, where he set a state record for averaging 10.8 yards per carry as a running back. He also was the state’s 100-yard dash champ.
At Penn State, Fitzkee led the Nittany Lions in receiving in 1978 with 37 catches for 630 yards and six touchdowns. He played for a national title that year, losing to Alabama.
He was a fifth-round NFL draft choice by Philadelphia the following spring. And he made an immediate impact with the Eagles, playing in 15 games as a rookie. He made eight catches for 105 yards (13.1 per catch) with a touchdown.
His second season, the Eagles’ Super Bowl season, started out promising, with Fitzkee getting significant playing time. But early in the year, he suffered the foot injury while running a simple pass route in St. Louis.
“I can picture it. It was an in-route and the stress of cutting, it just popped. The fifth metatarsal (bone) just broke. I didn’t get hit or anything. I was done, I just hobbled off.”
He came back at the end of the season and caught two passes for 19 yards in a playoff victory over Minnesota. But he re-broke the foot during the game, had surgery and missed the NFC championship game against Dallas and the Super Bowl.
“I probably wasn’t 100 percent yet,” Fitzkee said of coming back against the Vikings. “I caught a pass and as I was cutting it went out again on me.”
He did make the most of his six receptions in 1980, totaling 169 yards and two touchdowns.
He left the Eagles after the Super Bowl and played two years with the San Diego Chargers. He made one catch in a 1982 playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He moved on to the United States Football League with the Philadelphia and Baltimore Stars. Whenever he scored a touchdown, he spun the ball on his fingers while his teammates circled and celebrated.
Fitzkee was finished by 1986, thanks in part to nine concussions that got so bad that he began having vision problems “every time I was hit hard in the shoulder pads.”
He spent the next two football seasons on Penn State’s radio broadcast team.
And then football was gone.
Ever since, he’s stayed busy running a commercial roofing business in the Hunt Valley, Md., area and watching his 15-year-old daughter, Lexi, play volleyball, basketball and run track.
And this time of year he thinks back to 1980. He still sees old Philly teammates at golf tournaments, guys like Ron Jaworski, Harold Carmichael and John Spagnola.
It gets him thinking back to the Super Bowl, especially now that the Eagles have finally made it back.
“I almost had a shot to go again with San Diego, but we lost the AFC title game with Cincinnati. We were the better team, we just didn’t win.”
He thinks back. The Louisiana Superdome. The broken foot. Those Raiders. The opportunities seized, the chances missed.
“You look back and there’s a lot of fond memories,” he said. “I still see the guys I knew, and that means more than anything.”