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  1. #1
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    Breaking barriers, Browns mourn passing of Hall of Famer Bill Willis

    [size=12pt]Breaking barriers, Browns mourn passing of Hall of Famer Bill Willis[/size]
    Associated Press
    28 Nov. 2007

    ...Willis, a two-time All-American at Ohio State and Hall of Famer with the Browns who helped break down pro football's color barrier in the 1940s, died Tuesday night in Columbus from multiple illnesses. He was 86.

    More than 60 years ago, Willis, a two-way star from 1946-53 with the Browns as an offensive lineman and middle guard, was among a group of players who desegregated pro football a full year before Jackie Robinson stepped across baseball's racial divide.

    ...

    "It went under the radar," said Cincinnati Bengals president Mike Brown, whose legendary father, Paul, coached Willis with the Buckeyes and Browns. "Everyone knew the Jackie Robinson story, but Bill Willis and Marion Motley were every bit as important to the world of football and it was overlooked."

    Willis is recognized as the first black full-time starter in pro football's modern era. He was also Ohio State's first black All-American, and the school recently honored him by retiring his No. 99 jersey. He was also inducted into the college football Hall of Fame...
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  2. #2
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    Re: Breaking barriers, Browns mourn passing of Hall of Famer Bill Willis

    R.I.P.
    I'll admit i didn't know his story until recently either.
    About a year & a half ago I did a report on the NFL for school, and when i read about Willis and others I included another part about it.

    Great player, great man.


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