AFL legend Gilchrist dies
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) ó Cookie Gilchristís nickname gave the false impression of a man who might easily crumble.
One of the American Football Leagueís first marquee players, Gilchrist died of cancer Monday at the age of 75.
He was a 251-pound bruiser whose ferocious running style drew comparisons to that of the great Jim Brown, and his grit and single-mindedness extended beyond the football field. Gilchrist took stands against racism and wasnít afraid to demand better contracts.
He died early Monday at an assisted living facility near Pittsburgh, nephew Thomas Gilchrist said. He was first diagnosed with throat cancer, and the disease spread to his prostate and colon.
ěThe Bills were very lucky to have procured the services of Cookie Gilchrist, who was one of the greatest fullbacks I have ever seen in all of my years in professional football,î said Ralph Wilson, the 92-year-old Buffalo owner.
Carlton Chester ěCookieî Gilchrist joined the Bills of the AFL in 1962 and spent three seasons there. He was the leagueís player of the year in 1962, when he had 1,096 yards rushing and a league-leading 13 touchdowns. In 1964, Gilchrist and quarterback Jack Kemp led the Bills to their first of two straight AFL championships.
Before joining the Bills he spent six years in the Canadian Football League, where he is regarded as one of its top two-way players.
Cornerback Booker Edgerson, a former Bills teammate, said Gilchrist was ějust as good and maybe even betterî than Brown. ěHe and Jim had the same outstanding abilities to play the game,î he added.
Edgerson noted that Gilchrist also starred at linebacker in the CFL and wanted to play the position in Buffalo.
ěYeah, he was tough,î Edgerson said. ěIf they wouldíve allowed him to play linebacker, he wouldíve kicked a lot of butt.î
Gilchrist led the AFL in yards rushing from 1963-65 and in touchdowns from 1962-64. His most notable game came in Buffaloís 45-14 win over the New York Jets in 1963. He set a record with 243 yards rushing and became only the fourth player to score five touchdowns ó one short of the record set by Ernie Nevers.
After Buffalo, Gilchrist spent two seasons with Denver and one with Miami.
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