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George Taliaferro, the star Indiana running back who in 1949

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    September 17, 2019 1:58 AM PDT
    BLOOMINGTON Pat O'Donnell Jersey , Ind. (AP) — became the first black player drafted in the NFL when George Halas and the Chicago Bears took him in the 13th round, has died. He was 91.The university spoke with Taliaferro’s family about his death in Mason, Ohio, senior associate athletic director Jeremy Gray said Tuesday. Other details were not disclosed.Taliaferro was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981. In the NFL, he played seven positions and earned Pro Bowl honors in 1951-53.He was the leading rusher on Indiana’s 1945 Big Ten championship team that went 9-0-1, the only undefeated team in school history. During his four years in Bloomington he led the Hoosiers in rushing twice and passing once.It wasn’t an easy transition — the segregation in Bloomington was jarring — and Taliaferro told the Indianapolis Star he once called his father in Gary, Indiana, and suggested he might come home and work together in one of the U.S. Steel plants. His dad wouldn’t hear of it.“I lay awake all night trying to figure … out … why … he wouldn’t help me,” Taliaferro told the Star. “And it came to me: That for the first 18 years of my life, every day I left my father and mother’s house to go to school, they told me two things: ‘We love you; you must be educated.’ It came to me that the other reason for my being at Indiana University … on the campus at Bloomington … Indiana — was to be educated.”Indiana said university President Herman Wells once intervened with a local restaurant to make sure he and Taliaferro would be able to eat there. When the manager balked, Wells said he would make the restaurant off limits to the student body and the manager relented.The Bears selected Taliaferro with the 129th overall pick — a potential dream come true for the Gary native who grew up following the Bears. The problem was that Taliaferro had signed a week before the draft with the Los Angeles Dons of the rival All America Football Conference, which had welcomed black players since its debut in 1946.Taliaferro told the Dayton Daily News last year he thought about returning his $4 ,000 signing bonus to the Dons in hopes it would clear the way for an NFL career, but then spoke with his mother.“She said, ‘What did you promise your father?'” Taliaferro told the Dayton Daily News. “I knew right away. I had to be a man of my word, so I never even bothered getting back to George Halas and the Bears.”Taliaferro rushed for 472 yards and five touchdowns and passed for another 790 yards and four scores in his rookie season with the Dons in 1949. The AAFC merged with the NFL the following season and Taliaferro ended up with the New York Yanks for the 1950 season. Taliaferro rushed for 411 yards and four touchdowns and caught another 21 passes for 299 yards and five scores for the Yanks, leading the team in touchdowns and helping them to a 7-5 record.Taliaferro spent five more years in the NFL. He totaled 2,266 rushing yards, 1,300 receiving yards, 1,633 passing yards and accounted for 37 touchdowns while playing for franchises in New York, Dallas, Baltimore and Philadelphia. He lined up at quarterback, running back, wide receiver Womens Tom Waddle Jersey , punter, kick returner, punt returner and defensive back.Taliaferro later earned a master’s degree at Howard University, taught at Maryland and served as dean of students at Morgan State. At Indiana, he also spent two decades serving his alma mater in a number of capacities, including as a special assistant to the president, IUPUI chancellor and dean of School of Social Work. He was also active in helping the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.Flags on the Bloomington campus were lowered to half-staff through this weekend’s homecoming game against Iowa. Taliaferro’s No. 44 will replace the traditional logo on Indiana players’ helmets for the game and there will be a moment of silence before kickoff.“He was a mentor to me, and, like all great mentors, was often one who was appropriately challenging me,” athletic director Fred Glass said. “Simply put, he was a great man and will be greatly missed.”Indiana said Taliaferro is survived by his wife of 67 years, Viola, and two daughters.Funeral arrangements were pending.FOX Fantasy AutoForm a Racing Team Sam Acho Jersey , Compete for PrizesPlay Now! The NFL is through the first quarter of 2018 and so far, it’s been another fun season filled with plenty of parity. While it’s still early, there are currently five teams that hold leads on divisions that didn’t finish at the top the year before.The Chicago Bears are one of those, yet they are the only team that is currently on track for a worst-to-first type turnaround. Will it last? Only time will tell, but they’ve surprised many around the league with their hot start.NFL teams often take the season week-by-week but it’s no secret that they also judge themselves by breaking up the season into four quarters, much like a 60-minute football game. With that in mind, let’s take a look at just how good the Bears have been and what’s ahead in their final 12 games.OffensePhoto by Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesSo far, it’s been a mixed bag of results for this brand new offense. The good news? It all came together in Week 4 with a 48-10 dismantling of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky finished the game with 354 passing yards, 53 rushing yards and a whopping six passing touchdowns. Throughout their prior three games, it was a much different story though. Plenty of panic had set in with the fanbase, and analysts around the league, as Trubisky and the offense sputtered out of the gate. Some had even questioned whether or not head coach Matt Nagy should be calling plays.Currently, the team’s offense ranks like this:8th in points (27.8)10th in rushing (121.5)20th in DVOA (-1.8%)22nd in yards (341)23rd in passing (219.5)Obviously, some of this has been skewed since Week 4’s performance , but one could make an argument that Week 3 had a similar impact in the other direction. Regardless of the semantics, this unit needs to be better but the hope is that Sunday’s performance will act as a launching pad for Trubisky and the offense.Three Studs:Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty ImagesLT Charles Leno Jr.RG Kyle LongRB Tarik CohenThree Duds:Photo by Rob Carr/Getty ImagesLG Eric KushTE Dion SimsRB Jordan HowardGrade: CIf not for last weekend’s performance, this grade is sizably lower. This isn’t to overlook their struggles in the first three contests, though. We’ve seen flashes from the offense and wondered what would happen if they dialed back the complexity and started successful hitting downfield. Sunday we witnessed exactly what this offense is capable of.No fan should expect 48 points or six touchdowns from Trubisky on a weekly basis, but everyone has seen that the second-year quarterback is capable of doing something that no Bears quarterback has accomplished since the 1940’s. If this unit can play at 60% of what it did, they could finish near the top 10. Consistency will be key moving forward.DefensePhoto by Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesContrary to the offensive side of the ball, the defensive unit has been unbelievable. Of course adding Khalil Mack to a top-10 unit (statistically speaking) from last year never hurts.This Bears defense has taken the league by storm. Not only are they putting up top five results in the way of traditional numbers, they’ve flat out dominated the majority of the time they’ve been out on the field. To illustrate their dominance a little better. The Bears have seen seven quarterbacks in four games. Two starters have been benched and one was hurt for a little under a quarter. For a better look at just how good this unit has been, here’s some numbers:1st in Defensive DVOA (-30%)1st in sacks (18)1st in defensive touchdowns (2)2nd in turnovers (11)3rd in points (16.3)4th in yards (294.5)Through four games, the Bears have been the best defensive unit in football and have thoroughly dominated each opponent (outside of Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter of Week 1). They’ve also had arguably the best front seven in football and all of this comes without Leonard Floyd factoring in the sack department just yet.As long as this unit stays healthy, this is a group that will end up challenging Lovie Smith’s defenses of the mid-2000’s in most statistical categories. More importantly, this appears to be a Super Bowl caliber defense that only needs a league average offense to dominate in the win column.Three Studs:Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesOLB Khalil MackDL Akiem HicksS Eddie JacksonTwo Duds:Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty ImagesCB Kyle FullerDL Jonathan BullardGrade: AThis unit has been incredible and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, as long as they continue to stay healthy. In fact, this unit has been so good I couldn’t even highlight three “duds” because even the two listed haven’t been horrible.If Floyd can get going over the final 12 games in the pass rush department Womens Danny Trevathan Jersey , it’s completely possible that the Bears could end up with close to 70 sacks this year. That may seem lofty but they’ve had the lowest blitz percentage in the league at close to 12% and are still averaging 4.5 sacks-per-game so far. With quarterback pressure will also bring a consistent flow of turnovers.Special TeamsPhoto by Jennifer Stewart/Getty ImagesSo far so good for this unit. As many know, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Chris Tabor hire, but so far he’s proved me wrong. Special teams can be hard to evaluate and I’m not going to sit here and pretend to know how to even do that. With that being said, here’s some numbers for why I believe this is a good unit:4th in made field goals (9)4th in punt return yardage (12.8)5th in Special Teams DVOA (+4.6)6th in net punting average (42.9)Long story short, this unit hasn’t given up anything but and has continued to come up when it’s needed.Grade: A-What’s AheadThe Bears have a bye in Week 5 before the attack the final 12 games on their schedule. Here’s a look at the remainder of their schedule:At DolphinsVs PatriotsVs JetsAt BillsVs LionsVs VikingsAt Lions At GiantsVs RamsVs PackersAt 49ersAt VikingsAs seen above, they’ll face the AFC East over the next four weeks. Their current 3-1 conference schedule will come into handy with any tie-breaking scenarios within the conference in the meantime.The second half of the schedule will see nothing but NFC opponents. Five of those games will be against divisional opponents, which is where their season will likely be decided. Heading into Week 5, the Bears currently hold the top spot in the NFC North and have a chance to hold that lead with a host of winnable games for the foreseeable future.With all of that being said, they must win within their division if they expect a playoff spot this year. Even if they match their first quarter of the season with a 3-1 record in the second installment, a 6-2 record likely won’t be enough to overcome poor divisional play in the second half. Even so, every team in the NFC North looks beatable. The Bears appear to be in a prime position to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010, at least on paper. One way or another, the Bears exceeded expectations through the first four games and have a chance to mirror that through the next four.