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George Taliaferro Dies Age 91

George Taliaferro, one of the NFL’s great trailblazers, passed away on Monday night aged 91.

George Taliaferro was the first African-American player to be drafted by an NFL team, in 1949. The George Taliaferro Sports Association announced his death.

He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 13th round of the 1949 NFL Draft. However, he never played for the Bears despite being a Bears fan.

“I knew everybody who ever played with the Bears,” Taliaferro said last year.

“That was my team.”

Taliaferro had committed to play for the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference in 1949.


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It would be 1950 before he entered the NFL. The AAFC collapsed and as a result he signed with the New York Knicks. His six NFL seasons would see him play for the Knicks, Dallas Texans, Baltimore Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Taliaferro made the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons between 1951 and 1953. In total, he had 2,266 rushing yards on 498 carries and 15 rushing touchdowns for his career. He also had 95 receptions for 1,300 yards and 12 touchdown catches. As well as that, he had 1,633 passing yards with 10 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.

According to the man himself, nobody has played more positions than him in the NFL.


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“I’m the one person in the history of the NFL to play seven positions,” Taliaferro told The Undefeated.

“When I went on the field, the game was over when I came off.”

Taliaferro played at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, punter, kick returner, punt returner and defensive back.

In 1945, he led the Hoosiers team that went 9 – 0 – 1, the only college team to complete an undefeated season. That year, he was the first African-American player to lead the Big Ten in Rushing Yards.

He was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

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