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Black US Sports Trailblazer George Taliaferro Dies at 91

Voice of America
10 Oct 2018, 15:05 GMT+10

African-American sports pioneer George Taliaferro -- the first black player to be drafted by the National Football League -- has died at 91.

Taliaferro was a college football superstar for the University of Indiana when the Chicago Bears chose him in the 13th round of the 1949 NFL draft.

It was the first time any team picked a black player in the annual draft.

But Taliaferro had already signed to play for the Los Angeles Dons of the rival All-America Football Conference and never played for the Bears.

When the smaller league went out of business, Taliaferro joined the NFL. He played six seasons for teams in New York, Dallas, Baltimore and Philadelphia -- playing seven different positions.

When his sports career ended, Taliaferro earned a master's degree at Howard University and held high-ranking positions at several top universities.

The first black player to break modern professional football's color barrier was Kenny Washington, who was not drafted by but was signed directly by the Los Angeles Rams in 1946.

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