Walt Downing was an All-American at Michigan in 1977 and was born in the Pennsylvania countryside west of Philadelphia. He was drafted by the 49ers in 1978 and played with them through 1983, at guard and center. Downing then headed back to his hometown and raised a family and held executive positions at Green Lines Transportation, a trucking firm, and other companies. His son, T.J. Downing, played right guard at Ohio State early this decade.
When Montana retired, Walt said this: “Our birthdays were the same date. Not just day, but date. Both of us were born on June 11, 1956. I used to have fun at a lot of parties. I remember once we were doing a celebrity thing down in Santa Cruz, they gave us this cake when they found out it was both of our birthdays.
“So we decided to try to hit each other in the face with this cake. I don’t remember the exact results of the fight, but I remember that I at least got a little spot of cream on him. I’m sure I hit his nose. It’s so big, it’s hard to miss.”