The life of Robert Delpino

Kathie Bell
Special to the Globe
Robert Delpino grew up in Dodge City and went on to play football for the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos. SUBMITTED PHOTO

This football player got his start right here in Dodge City and made it to the big leagues.

Robert Lewis Delpino was born on Nov. 2, 1965 in Dodge City. He attended grade school at Lincoln Elementary School where he started playing football under teacher and coach Bill Bunyan in the fourth grade.

Delpino graduated from Dodge City High School in 1983. His football career began to take off when he played as wide receiver for the Dodge City Community College Conquistadors. In 1984 he received NJCAA All-American First Team honors.

After DCCC, Delpino played wide receiver for the University of Missouri, scoring a touchdown and getting 299 receiving yards. In his senior year, he changed to a running back, which was a good move as he rushed 837 yards and scored nine touchdowns making him fifth in the Big 8 in rushing yards and touchdowns.

After receiving his Associate of Arts from the School of Social Work at the University of Missouri, the Los Angeles Rams picked him in the fifth round of the 1988 NFL draft as the 117th pick overall.

According to Chris Dufresne of the LA Times, Delpino got off to a rocky start with the Rams, showing up a day late for training camp, failing to leave a phone number where he could be reached and getting lost in Orange County, Calif.

Yet, somehow the Rams considered him a steal at pick number 117 and, as jersey number 39, had a great first year with the Rams as the Team's Rookie of the Year. He went on to play four more years for the LA Rams. His sixth and final year was as number 39 with the Denver Broncos in 1993.

During his six years in the NFL, Delpino had 1,815 rushing yards with 18 touchdowns and 1,796 receiving yards scoring nine touchdowns as a receiver.

After his professional football employment, Delpino pursued a career in social work and counseling. He earned his BA in Social Work at La Sierra University in 2004 and, in 2011, he achieved a Masters in Counseling Psychology at California Baptist University.

In 2016, Dodge City Community College inducted him into their second class of the Dodge City Community College Athletics Hall of Fame.

Robert Delpino currently serves as a licensed marriage and family therapist in the Greater Los Angeles area.

On a lighthearted note, at one time he received honors as an outstanding "Italian" football player.

This award was based on his stellar record and his Italian name. Though the name "Delpino" sounds Italian, Robert Delpino is African-American.