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George Taliaferro, 91, colour-barrier breaking Afr-Amer NFL player (Chicago Bears, 1949)
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That Derek
2018-10-09 18:54:33 UTC
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https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/college/indiana/2018/10/08/first-african-american-drafted-nfl-george-taliaferro-dies-91-iu-hoosiers/1574059002/

IU football trailblazer George Taliaferro dies at 91

Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star
Published 10:54 p.m. ET Oct. 8, 2018 | Updated 9:39 a.m. ET Oct. 9, 2018

BLOOMINGTON – George Taliaferro, an All-American at IU and a trailblazer for African-Americans in football, has died. He was 91.

A cornerstone of the 1945 Indiana football team, the only team in program history to go undefeated, Taliaferro starred at running back for the Hoosiers.

More than that, Taliaferro was the first African-American ever drafted by an NFL team. The Chicago Bears picked him in the 13th round of the 1949 NFL draft, and Taliaferro played from 1949-55 with franchises in both the old NFL, and the All-America Football Conference.

While at Indiana, Taliaferro led the Hoosiers in passing, rushing and punting during different seasons. He became the first African-American to lead the Big Ten in rushing, in 1945, and he helped that IU team finish 9-0-1, its only blemish a 7-7 tie against Northwestern early in the season.

That team outscored opponents 140-6 in its final four games.

Taliaferro is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

► From Gregg Doyel's 2015 column on Taliaferro's amazing life:

When he reported to IU in 1945 he couldn't swim in the pool, live in the dorm or eat in the cafeteria. He could attend movies, but only on weekends, and only if he sat in the balcony, away from the white people.

"I couldn't do ... anything ... on ... campus but attend class and play football," he says.

George called his father in 1945 and told Robert Taliaferro he was coming home to Gary, maybe to work alongside his father in the tin mill at the US Steel Corp. A few years earlier, when George was still at Gary Roosevelt High, he told his father — a foreman at the tin mill — that he wanted to be just like him.

"Then you should cross your arms across your chest and lie down and die," Robert told him. "Because I never had the kinds of opportunities that you are going to have."

...

The Chicago Bears drafted Taliaferro in 1949, making him the first African-American ever selected. But the All-American Football Conference years earlier had opened its doors to African-American players, and he already had agreed to play for the Los Angeles Dons — and while the Bears were his favorite team growing up 30 miles away in Gary, Taliaferro had given his word to the Dons.

"I ... never ... played for the Chicago Bears," he says.

He did damn near everything else. He played seven seasons of pro football, six in the NFL with New York, Dallas, Baltimore and Philadelphia, three times making the Pro Bowl. He became a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Baltimore, advised prisoners adjusting to society upon their release, got his master's in social work at Howard University, taught at Maryland, was dean of students at Morgan State, returned to Indiana as a professor and special assistant to IU president John Ryan, and helped start Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana in Bloomington.
p***@gmail.com
2018-10-09 23:57:19 UTC
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Post by That Derek
https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/college/indiana/2018/10/08/first-african-american-drafted-nfl-george-taliaferro-dies-91-iu-hoosiers/1574059002/
IU football trailblazer George Taliaferro dies at 91
Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star
Published 10:54 p.m. ET Oct. 8, 2018 | Updated 9:39 a.m. ET Oct. 9, 2018
BLOOMINGTON – George Taliaferro, an All-American at IU and a trailblazer for African-Americans in football, has died. He was 91.
A cornerstone of the 1945 Indiana football team, the only team in program history to go undefeated, Taliaferro starred at running back for the Hoosiers.
More than that, Taliaferro was the first African-American ever drafted by an NFL team. The Chicago Bears picked him in the 13th round of the 1949 NFL draft, and Taliaferro played from 1949-55 with franchises in both the old NFL, and the All-America Football Conference.
While at Indiana, Taliaferro led the Hoosiers in passing, rushing and punting during different seasons. He became the first African-American to lead the Big Ten in rushing, in 1945, and he helped that IU team finish 9-0-1, its only blemish a 7-7 tie against Northwestern early in the season.
That team outscored opponents 140-6 in its final four games.
Taliaferro is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
When he reported to IU in 1945 he couldn't swim in the pool, live in the dorm or eat in the cafeteria. He could attend movies, but only on weekends, and only if he sat in the balcony, away from the white people.
"I couldn't do ... anything ... on ... campus but attend class and play football," he says.
George called his father in 1945 and told Robert Taliaferro he was coming home to Gary, maybe to work alongside his father in the tin mill at the US Steel Corp. A few years earlier, when George was still at Gary Roosevelt High, he told his father — a foreman at the tin mill — that he wanted to be just like him.
"Then you should cross your arms across your chest and lie down and die," Robert told him. "Because I never had the kinds of opportunities that you are going to have."
...
The Chicago Bears drafted Taliaferro in 1949, making him the first African-American ever selected. But the All-American Football Conference years earlier had opened its doors to African-American players, and he already had agreed to play for the Los Angeles Dons — and while the Bears were his favorite team growing up 30 miles away in Gary, Taliaferro had given his word to the Dons.
"I ... never ... played for the Chicago Bears," he says.
He did damn near everything else. He played seven seasons of pro football, six in the NFL with New York, Dallas, Baltimore and Philadelphia, three times making the Pro Bowl. He became a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Baltimore, advised prisoners adjusting to society upon their release, got his master's in social work at Howard University, taught at Maryland, was dean of students at Morgan State, returned to Indiana as a professor and special assistant to IU president John Ryan, and helped start Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana in Bloomington.
As stated in the article, Taliaferro never played for the Chicago Bears and was never on the roster of the Chicago Bears. He also did not sign a contract with the Chicago Bears.

Despite being selected by the Bears in the 1949 draft, he chose to play for the Los Angeles Dons of the AAFC (All-American Football Conference) and he stuck to that decision even after the Bears drafted him. He eventually played in the NFL, starting with the ever-moving franchise of New York Yanks/Dallas Texans/Baltimore Colts (1950-1954).

There are early claimants to the first African American player in football, including Fritz Pollard and Bobby Marshall in the 1920s, but that was before the emergence of the modern NFL. And by 1934, there were no blacks in the NFL.

In 1946, the Los Angeles Rams (recently transplanted from Cleveland) signed Ronny Jackson to an NFL contract. He was the first African American player of the modern era in the NFL.
Michael OConnor
2018-10-10 06:49:22 UTC
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Post by p***@gmail.com
Despite being selected by the Bears in the 1949 draft, he chose to play for the Los Angeles Dons of the AAFC (All-American Football Conference) and he stuck to that decision even after the Bears drafted him. He eventually played in the NFL, starting with the ever-moving franchise of New York Yanks/Dallas Texans/Baltimore Colts (1950-1954).
The Yanks, Texans, and Colts are technically considered to be separate franchises. Some of the players may move with the teams, but when the colors and names change, they are technically different teams. This was the case with the Cleveland Browns going into limbo for three years when the team moved to Baltimore in 1996 and the league forced the Browns ownership to leave the name, colors and team history behind and more or less start over as a new franchise (the Baltimore Ravens) only with the Cleveland Browns roster.

I can shed some light on one of the more memorable games George Taliaferro played in, for the 1952 Texans. The Texans began the 1952 season in Dallas as the Dallas Texans and halfway thru the season, the Dallas ownership collapsed and the NFL took over the running of the team, stripping the city name from the team and they were known simply as the Texans. The Texans finished out the 1952 season based out of Hershey, PA (although they never played there) and because they were a perpetual road team they were slated to host an upcoming Thanksgiving game against the Chicago Bears. For some unknown reason, they chose to hold the game at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio, in front of about 3,000 fans.

In what was certainly the most bizarro Turkey Day game in NFL history, the Texans got the only win in franchise history, upsetting the Bears 27-23 when Frank Tripucka (whose son, Kelly Tripucka, was an NBA All Star in the 80's) scored the winning TD with less than a minute to play. George Taliaferro fired a 20-yard TD pass for the Texans in the victory, while George Blanda threw two touchdown passes for the Bears in the fourth quarter in a losing effort. The Texans disbanded after the 1952 season, thus becoming the last NFL franchise to go defunct. A few of the Texans players wound up with the Colts, including Taliaferro, and two future Hall of Famers, Gino Marchetti and Art Donovan.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/195211270dtx.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Texans_(NFL)

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