First African-American to be drafted and play in the NFL, Wally Triplett, dies

Wally Triplett, a Detroit Lions legend who was the first African-American player to be drafted and play in the league, died Thursday morning. He was 92.

“Wally is one of the true trailblazers in American sports history,” the Lions said in a statement. “He resides among the great men who helped reshape the game as they faced the challenges of segregation and discrimination.

“Wally’s legacy also reaches beyond breaking color barriers, having served in the United States Army during the Korean War. We fondly reflect on his great achievements and send our heartfelt condolences to the Triplett family.”

Triplett was selected by the Lions in the 19th round of the 1949 NFL Draft, and he was a running back and return specialist for the Lions from 1949 through 1950.

In his second season, he had an…

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