Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cookie Gilchrist dies at age 75

Cookie Gilchrist was a little bit before my time. Bills fans should remember him though. He was on the last Buffalo team that won anything and is widely regarded as one of the greatest running backs of his era. From the Buffalo News...

Gilchrist, who died at age 75 on Monday of cancer, was ahead of his time as a player and a man. He was the progenitor of the big, bruising featured back. In other ways, he was a throwback. During his six years in Canada, Gilchrist played both ways. He kicked and played special teams. He kicked field goals one year for the Bills. Harvey Johnson, who scouted Gilchrist in Canada and later coached the Bills, felt he was better on defense.

It seems like everyone who met Cookie has a story to tell about him. News columnist Jerry Sullivan talked about meeting him in 2005...

"I played football for one reason," he told me. "To get paid. I didn't get paid what I was worth when I played for the Buffalo Bills. It's impossible for you to even comprehend the full magnitude of my contribution, not only to the Bills or Toronto Argonauts, but the economy of America." Gilchrist then launched into a 15-minute rant on slavery, the Bible, racism, the Constitution and what he considered a "curse" placed on black people. I couldn't tell if I was dealing with a crackpot or a genius, or something in-between. I wrote a column about his rift with the Bills. The next time I contacted him, he said he never wanted to speak to me again.

Sounds like my kind of guy. I heard Van Miller talking about him on the radio today. He said Gilchrist was always trying to make money off of his name. In fact, Miller said the reason Gilchrest isn't on the Bills' Wall of Fame is because he demanded an appearance fee to come back here. Miller said Gilchrist one time had 14,000 ear muffs made up with his name on them to sell at a December home game in Buffalo. It turned out to be 67 degrees and sunny that day. Hilarious. Gilchrist died yesterday at the age of 75 of cancer.

Cookie was outspoken, ahead of his time - Jerry Sullivan - The Buffalo News

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