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Richter never missed a game during his nine-year career, battling injuries and allergies, and even a broken cheekbone sustained early in the 1961 season. He was well-known for a fight with the Colts’ Don Joyce during Richter’s 1954 rookie season. Joyce tore off Richter’s helmet and hit him over the head with it, sending Richter to the hospital for 14 stitches.

He won rookie of the year honors that same season.

His Rams‘ teams were never great — Richter won six or more games just four times in nine years — but he contributed everything he could. He doubled as kicker for two seasons, making 29 field goals.

When he finally retired in 1962, a second career on the fringe of football didn’t interest him. He threw himself fulltime into auto racing, and attacked the industry the same way he did opponents.

Les was a hard worker. He wasn’t one who was going to go off and do speeches, I don’t think he was comfortable with that,” Penske said. “He was an operator. He was a player who worked inside the lines, he didn’t catch passes, he didn’t throw passes. But the way he ran his life, he was the guy out there at 5 in the morning setting up all the way through midnight taking tickets.”