In less than two months, dreams of more than 250 young men will come to fruition when they are selected in the NFL Draft.
George Taliaferro dreamed of playing professional football, but only wondered if he’d ever get the chance. While Taliaferro starred at Indiana University, he watched as professional football’s color barrier was broken in 1946 by Los Angeles Rams Kenny Washington and Woody Strode in the NFL and Cleveland Browns Bill Willis and Marion Motley of the All-America Football Conference, a group now dubbed “The Forgotten Four.”
“Every human being has the right to dream,” Taliaferro said during an interview for The Forgotten Four documentary. Even in the face of humongous odds, dreaming is still worth the activity because it’s what happened to me. I dreamed of being a great football player like the football players that played before me. I said, ‘If ever I can get into an organized football arrangement, I’m going to be like Kenny Washington.’ ”
Taliaferro became the first African American to be drafted by an NFL team (Bears, 1949), but he opted to sign with the Los Angeles Dons of the AAFC. After one season, Taliaferro joined the New York Yanks (1950-51), and followed by playing for the Dallas Texans (1952), Baltimore Colts (1953-54) and Philadelphia Eagles (1955). He was selected to three Pro Bowls (1951-53).
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