Wally Triplett, 1st African-American to be drafted and play in NFL, dies at 92


Wallace “Wally” Triplett, a 1950s NFL pioneer and Detroit Lions legend who held many firsts in his career, died Thursday morning, according to the Detriot Lions. He was 92.

Triplett was drafted in the 19th round of the 1949 NFL draft and was the third African-American player drafted that year. Of the three, he was the first draftee to take the field that season as a running back and return specialist. His 80-yard return against Green Bay as a rookie set the team record for longest yards from scrimmage.

George Taliaferro was the first African-American drafted and died one month ago at the age of 91.

Triplett’s second season was cut short after he set the NFL mark of 294 kickoff return yards in a game against the Los Angeles Rams. The record stood for 44 years and is still third all-time. The…

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