Longshot: Return Man

Longshot: Return Man

In Season 1 of "Longshot," "Return Man" is an investigation into the life and mysterious death of the only Super Bowl champion from Lancaster, S.C. In 1970, Jim Duncan was a star on the rise for the Baltimore Colts, and the top kickoff return man in the NFL. Then, two years later, authorities say Duncan, who was Black, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside his hometown police station. Many Black people alive in Lancaster at the time didn't believe the official account of the death. They also didn't openly question it. Until now. Reported and hosted by Bret McCormick of The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C.... Show More

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January 6, 2021 1 min


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January 26, 2021 34 min

Jim Duncan was one of eight children, growing up in a shotgun house on the poorest side of a small South Carolina milltown. There in Lancaster, the public facilities were segregated—but one of the few spots Blacks and whites both called home was the lone football field in town, shared by the Black and white high schools. There, Duncan began carving a path out of poverty for himself, and his family.

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February 2, 2021 32 min

Jim Duncan's rare athleticism made him a star on the Maryland State College football team, where he played offense, defense and special teams. In 1968, he was a fourth-round draft pick by the Baltimore Colts, and soon became the leading kickoff return man in the NFL, enjoying a level of celebrity and status that friends and family back in Lancaster could hardly imagine.


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February 9, 2021 29 min

Following his Super Bowl win, Jim Duncan fell in love with a woman he met in South Carolina. But financial obligations soon sapped his joy for the game, and those who knew Jim say his personality began changing in unsettling ways. They speculate that for a rising star playing arguably the most dangerous position on the football field, head injuries might have begun to take their toll on Jim.


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February 16, 2021 35 min

After a series of injuries and bizarre behavior, Jim Duncan's last chance to catch on with a new NFL team fell short. By the fall of 1972, he was back in Lancaster; his career was over, his marriage wasn't much better off, and he was running out of money. On the morning of Oct. 20, 1972, Duncan left his family's house and drove downtown. It was the last time his loved ones saw him alive.


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February 23, 2021 39 min

According to officials, Jim Duncan walked into the Lancaster Police Station on Oct. 20, 1972, and crossed the lobby in just a few steps. Without saying a word, authorities allege, he ripped the revolver from the holster on an unsuspecting officer's hip, stepped back, and shot himself in the head. But what sort of investigation was done after the fact? What sort of investigation could have been done — and should have been done?


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March 2, 2021 33 min

Following Jim Duncan's death, the Lancaster County coroner called an inquest to determine what happened inside the police station. Seven witnesses were called to testify under oath; all worked at, or with, the Lancaster police department. After a short deliberation, the small jury concluded that Duncan died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But the one Black member of the inquest panel didn't believe what became the offi...

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