Ed Salem

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Edward Joseph Salem (born August 28, 1928 in Tucson, Arizona; died December 21, 2001 in Birmingham) was an All-American football player for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team in 1948, 1949, and 1950. He went on to play one season in the NFL and one in the CFL before returning to Birmingham to open a chain of successful drive-in restaurants and other businesses.

Salem was the second child born to Joseph and Zakie Salem, who moved to Birmingham before 1930. The family shared a home with Zakie's sister Beatrice Bohorfoush and her son Charles. Both boys played football for Ramsay High School, contributing to the Rams' 1946 undefeated season.

Salem went on to play for Red Drew's Crimson Tide at a time when they were still rising to national prominence. He starred on all sides of the ball. As a quarterback he was the team's top passer in 1948, 1949 and 1950. He was also the Tide's leading rusher in 1948 and top scorer in 1948 and 1949, a season in which he also led the team in interceptions. In 1950 he was the Tide's top punt returner. In Alabama's 55-0 victory over rival Auburn University in the 1948 Iron Bowl he threw for three touchdowns, rushed for another, and kicked seven extra points. Alabama's athletics staff named him one of the Tide's 50 best players in team history in 1992.

The Washington Redskins made Salem the 15th player selected overall in the second round of the 1951 NFL Draft. He played one year for the Redskins, recording five interceptions on defense. For the following season he signed with the Montreal Alouettes, making his mark there by kicking what was then a league record 53-yard field goal.

After leaving professional football, Salem moved to Birmingham and opened the first "Ed Salem's Drive-In" on 26th Street North, a noted cruising strip on the section of the Bee-Line Highway between Birmingham and North Birmingham. He later expanded with additional locations in Lakeview. Ed Salem's Drive-In #3, formerly Eli's Drive-In, was the site of WSGN-AM's famed "Sky Castle" deejay booth, where the station's "Good Guys" evening rock and roll deejays would take live requests.

In addition to his restaurants, Salem opened a travel agency and several bowling alleys and acted as a real estate developer. He died in 2001 from complications from diabetes and was buried at Elmwood Cemetery.

Salem was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2010.


  • "Ex-Tide QB to be honored by Alabama Sports Hall" (May 17, 2010) Tuscaloosa News

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