George Taliaferro, first African-American player drafted in NFL, dies at 91

George Taliaferro, whom the Bears made the first African-American draft pick in NFL history 69 years ago, died Monday at 91.

The Bears picked Taliaferro, a native of Gary, Indiana, who grew up a fan of the team, in the 13th round of the 1949 NFL Draft. But he never played for the Bears because he already had agreed to play for the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference.

Taliaferro, who played college ball at Indiana, was surprised by the selection. He learned he had been picked by the Bears when a friend showed him a headline in the Chicago Defender over lunch.

Taliaferro, who had received a $4,000 signing bonus from the Dons, considered joining the Bears anyway before his mother reminded him that his late father had preached trustworthiness.

George Taliaferro (20) of the…

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