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Willie Thrower

Age: 71

became NFL's first African-American quarterback when he appeared in a game for the Chicago Bears on Oct. 18, 1953; never appeared in another game and it would be 15 years before another African-American quarterback would take a snap in a pro game; cut by the Bears the next year and played in the Canadian Football League until a separated shoulder forced him to retire at age 27; led Michigan State to national championship in 1952. He died of a heart attack.

Died: New Kensington, Penn., Feb. 20

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