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Rock Island Ready To Host NFL Draft Pick, Vintage Football Game

Benjamin Payne
A cardboard cutout of lineman Frederick Wayman "Duke" Slater at Augustana College. Slater was among the first black athletes to enter professional football. He played for the Rock Island Independents, before going on to join the Chicago Cardinals.

Rock Island will embrace its gridiron glory days on Saturday, when the NFL Draft comes to town as part of a full day of free events at Augustana College's football stadium.

The marquee event may be the draft pick, but it won't be the only entertainment on hand: at 2:00 p.m., a group of vintage football enthusiasts will suit up in their heavy cotton uniforms and bulky leather helmets to re-create the first NFL game.

On Sept. 26, 1920, the Rock Island Independents clobbered the Saint Paul Ideals, 48-0.

Chris Zimmerman, a financial planner in Moline, will be hiking the ball for the Ideals.

When asked if he plans on losing 48-0, he laughed.

"No, I hope we have a little bit better team," said Zimmerman. "It's really all in good fun—you know, for the local folks to be able to come out and see the game and what it looked like at that time."

Credit Benjamin Payne / WVIK
Chris Zimmerman's replica uniform of the Moline Universal Tractors, the team he usually plays as during vintage football re-creations

Gates to Augustana's football stadium open at noon. The NFL's televised sixth-round draft pick is set to occur sometime between 2:00 and 4:30 p.m.

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