Ed Rogers was an outstanding football player and one of the key figures in the early days of Gophers football under coach Henry Williams.
Rogers, a star at the "end" position despite weighing just 158 pounds, was the captain of the Gophers team and played a big role in the Gophers/Michigan game in 1903 which started the Little Brown Jug tradition between the two teams.
Rogers was born in 1876 in Libby, Minnesota — an unincorporated village in Aitkin County. At the age of 7, he was sent by his parents to live with a family in Minneapolis. At the age of 18, he was sent to Carlisle Indian Industrial School, a boarding school in Pennsylvania.
Rogers, whose mother was Ojibwe, was at Carlisle for six years and played on the football team, which played a schedule against college teams. In 1899 and 1900, Carlisle's team was led by legendary coach Pop Warner. Rogers was captain of the 1900 team.
Following that season, Rogers moved to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota. He lettered on the 1902 and 1903 teams.
Against Michigan in 1903, the Wolverines were leading 6-0 late in the game when the Gophers scored to pull within 6-5 (touchdowns were worth just five points then). Rogers converted the extra point and the game ended in a 6-6 tie. Both teams were unbeaten in 1903. The Gophers, who were 14-0-1, outscored their opponents 618-12. The Gophers' six points were the only points Michigan allowed in 12 games. The Wolverines, 11-0-1 in 1903, outscored their opponents, 518-6.
Following the 1903 season, Rogers was named third-team on Walter Camp's All-America team.
After the season, Williams said, "Edward Rogers proved himself a splendid captain and magnificent leader."
While playing for the Gophers, Rogers earned a law degree from the University of Minnesota.
In 1904, Rogers returned to Carlisle where he coached the football team to a 9-2 record. In 1905, he became the football coach at St. Thomas in St. Paul. He coached the Tommies to a 14-9-1 record in four seasons.
Rogers was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968. Five years later he was named to the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame and he is a member of the University of Minnesota's "M" Club Hall of Fame.
Rogers practiced law for nearly 60 years — from 1905 until retiring in 1962. He was the Cass County attorney for 46 years. In 1912, he was voted the head of a council of 10 Ojibwe tribes. In 1962, he was named attorney of the year by a national group of district attorneys.
Teams: University of Minnesota, St. Thomas