Former Detroit Lions RB and NFL pioneer Wally Triplett dies at 92

Detroit Free Press staff
Published 12:13 p.m. ET Nov. 8, 2018 | Updated 12:36 p.m. ET Nov. 8, 2018


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Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press

Wally Triplett, the former Detroit Lions running back who was the first African-American player drafted into the NFL to play in a regular-season game, died on Thursday, according to a Lions news release. He was 92. 

“As the first African-American to be drafted and to play in the National Football League, Wally is one of the true trailblazers in American sports history,” the Lions said in the release. “He resides among the great men who helped reshape the game as they faced the challenges of segregation and discrimination.

“His contributions date back to his days at Penn State as the Nittany Lions’ first African-American starter and varsity letter-winner, highlighted by his appearance in the first integrated Cotton Bowl. Wally’s legacy also reaches beyond breaking color…

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