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George Taliaferro was a three-time All-American at Indiana and was the first African-American picked in the NFL draft.

By Charlotte Carroll
October 09, 2018

George Taliaferro, who became the first African-American picked in the NFL draft in 1949, died on Monday night. He was 91 years old.

His death was announced by the George Taliaferro Sport Association.

Taliaferro was a three-time All-American running back at Indiana and was part of the 1945 team, which is the only team to go undefeated in program history. 

He was the first African-American drafted by an NFL team when the Chicago Bears picked him in the 13th round of the 1949 draft. However, Taliaferro choose to play with the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference. After he entered the NFL in 1950, Taliaferro played for the New York Yanks, Dallas Texans, Baltimore Colts and Philadelphia Eagles.

Taliaferro was a three-time Pro Bowler from 1951–1953. He finished his time in the league with 2,266 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. He also recorded 1,300 receiving yards and 12 touchdown receptions.

Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted about Taliaferro, calling him a "trailblazer" and a "true gentleman."

Indiana University president Michael McRobbie said in a press release that Taliaferro "was a true trailblazer in every sense of the word and an individual of the greatest integrity, whose impact will be forever felt at IU and throughout the Hoosier state."

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