A four-sport letterman who went on to become one of the NFL’s most valuable defensive players.
Gene Brito was born Genaro Herman Brito on October 23, 1925, in Huntington Park, California. His athletic proficiency showed early as he lettered in four sports – football, basketball, baseball and track – at Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles.
Brito went on to play offensive and defensive end with the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins. After joining the Redskins in 1951, Brito played two years as the leading offensive end before earning the reputation as “the finest defensive end in the Eastern division” of the NFL.
He caught 45 passes in 1951 and played in a 1954 Pro All-Star game in which he was considered the most valuable defensive player. Named All-Pro in 1955, 1956 and 1958, he was also voted MVP by the TD Club of Washington, DC.
Brito died on June 8, 1965, in Duarte, California and was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.