Don McPherson already had Long Island roots in common with Pro Football Hall of Famers John Mackey and Jim Brown. After Saturday, he'll match them again with another notable accomplishment.
Syracuse will retire the West Hempstead native's jersey during Saturday's game against No. 3 Clemson.
McPherson was a consensus All-American in 1987 with the Orange. He also won the Davey O'Brien award as the nation's top quarterback and finished second to Notre Dame wideout Tim Brown in Heisman Trophy voting that season. McPherson was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the sixth round of the 1988 NFL draft and spent a season with the Houston Oilers and the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Rough-Riders before retiring in 1994.
"I see this as a moment of reflection more than accomplishment," McPherson told Newsday. "I think of all the teammates and coaches from West Hempstead to Syracuse who shared this journey. I'm grateful to them and those who paved the way for me. As John Mackey used to say, 'I'm standing on their shoulders.'
McPherson is the third former Orange with Long Island ties to have their college legacy honored. Syracuse retired Manhasset native Brown's number 44 in 2005 and retired Roosevelt native Mackey's jersey in 2007. Unlike Brown's number 44, however, Mackey's number 88 and McPherson's number 9 will continue to be used.
With Bobby Cassidy