I’ve interviewed Rep. Dean Wink for several years, as one of the key lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee.
But today, as Wink was in the process of getting a promotion to Speaker Pro Tempore of the South Dakota House of Representatives, I learned something new: Wink played professional football for four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Wink grew up in Yankton, and signed as a free agent with the Eagles as a 22-year-old in 1966.
He was officially a member of the Eagles’ practice squad, then called a “taxi squad.” Members of the squad traveled with the team and were, if necessary, called up play in games if people got hurt.
That happened a few times for Wink, who ended up making the professional team in 1967 and 1968 as a defensive end and defensive tackle. Altogether he played in 12 games over two seasons for the Eagles. Either stats websites don’t have information on him, or he didn’t have any tackles, sacks or other NFL counting stats. You can check out his NFL player page here, and his Pro-Football-Reference.com page here.
"It was a good experience, fun, an opportunity to travel and see some different cities," said Wink. "I had two shoulder injuries and decided it was time to have a career change."
He came home, worked in academia, then headed off to western South Dakota where he ranched and eventually got elected to the Legislature. Now he’s in line to be the next Speaker of the House.
The athletic resume of the South Dakota Legislature grows more and more impressive — or at least, the athletic resume of the Deans of the Legislature. Earlier, we discovered that Rep. Dean Schrempp boxed for several decades. Any other athletic lawmakers out there?