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Former Medford High star Scott Eaton passes away

Two-sport standout played six years in the NFL with the New York Giants

Thomas Scott Eaton, a Medford High School graduate who went on to play six seasons in the NFL, passed away on Oct. 1 at his home in Bellevue, Washington. He was 77 years old.

Born Aug. 20, 1944, Eaton was a two-sport star for Medford High before heading to play football and basketball at Oregon State. With the Beavers, Eaton first played basketball and then used up his remaining eligibility on the football field.

A cornerback by trade, Eaton was drafted in the eighth round of the 1966 NFL/AFL Draft by the New York Giants. He was also drafted by the Detroit Pistons, but elected to play football professionally.

Eaton, who also played safety while with the Giants, was forced to retire at the age of 28 in 1973 when he suffered an injury that resulted in double vision from a tackle on a teammate during a training camp scrimmage.

“The double vision has me scared,” Eaton told The New York Times. “It’s hard for me to play tennis or golf, so I can’t see how I’ll play football. I’ll miss the game.”

In his 60 games with the Giants, Eaton made 53 starts and recorded 11 interceptions.

Eaton’s son, Tracey, also played in the NFL for six seasons, playing for the Houston Oilers, Arizona Cardinals and the Atlanta Falcons after playing collegiately at Portland State.

In a unique twist, both father and son were the 187th pick in their respective drafts, with Tracey being taken in the seventh round of the 1988 draft. Tracey, like his father, was also a defensive back.

“I can still hear stories about what an athlete he was. He did it all,” Tracey Eaton said. “We were best of friends. He and I fished multiple times together, generally in Southern Oregon with our favorite fishing guide.”

Scott Eaton, a member of OSU’s 1966 Pac-8 Conference championship basketball team, was inducted into the Beavers’ athletics hall of fame in 1993.

Both Eatons are members of the Medford Sports Hall of Fame.

While still in the NFL, he spent his offseasons as a stockbroker, a profession he transitioned to full time after his early retirement. He spent nearly four decades working as a broker, retiring in 2006.

In his free time, Scott Eaton enjoyed fishing and hunting with friends and family in Southern Oregon.

He leaves behind his wife, Cindy, four children, Tracey, Jennifer, Kristine and Joe, his sister Sally and brother Tim. He had nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

“He always had fond memories of Medford,” Tracey Eaton said. “A piece of his heart was always down here (in Southern Oregon). I wanted to honor him and I bought a place down here in the Applegate River. It’s one of his favorite rivers that he grew up fishing on. He was a great dad and we just had an awesome time together.”

Reach Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or dpenza@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.