In 1992 Columbia's head football coach Ray Tellier said,
"Twenty or thirty years from now, not one coach, not one player, not one
person, who was here when Des Werthman played, will ever forget how he played
Twenty years later, those words have rung true.
Werthman was the definition of an impact player. Standing at just 5-10 and 225 pounds,
Werthman was so dominant, former Columbia teammate and 10-year NFL veteran
Marcellus Wiley called him the toughest player he ever played with in the
collegiate or professional ranks.
With the Lions plagued by injury at several positions,
Tellier started relying in his star linebacker on both sides of the ball. He received a few carries as an emergency
fullback and served as a place-kicker in his junior season and the final two
games of his senior campaign.
In 1992, facing a 7-1 Cornell team, Werthman posted 16
tackles, two fumble recoveries, two rushing touchdowns, a two-point conversion,
two extra points, and even threw a pass, which went incomplete. The Lions upset the Big Red, 35-30,
eliminating Cornell from the Ivy League title race.
The next week for his grand finale against Brown, Werthman
rushed for 114 yards, scored 19 points-three rushing touchdowns and an extra
point-and had 15 tackles. With the Lions
leading 34-28 and time winding down, he even intercepted a pass to seal the victory.
A two-time first team All-Ivy League honoree and two-time
All-America Honorable Mention, Werthman remains the school's all-time record
holder with 449 career tackles and his 72 points during his senior year is the
fifth-best total in program history. For
his efforts, he was named Defensive and Offensive Player of the Week at
different times of the 1992 season.
After graduating in 1993, Werthman enjoyed a brief stint in
the arena league and earned several NFL tryouts. After hanging up his cleats, he began a
career in investment banking and moved back to his hometown of Chicago in
1998. Werthman made a triumphant return
to Wien Stadium in 1999, where he was tabbed as a member of the Columbia's