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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Lookie, lookie, there goes Cookie

   Feb. 22, 1965 -- Cookie Gilchrist was definitely a mixed blessing for anyone who coached him. He might have had more talent than anyone in footballl. He played fullback, linebacker and place-kicker in his days in the Canadian Football League. Cookie jumped to the AFL's Buffalo Bills in 1962, and he became a force -- the first 1,000-yard rusher in AFL history. He once ran for 243 yards in a single game. Larry Felser of The Buffalo News called him "the greatest all-around football player ever."

   However, Gilchrist wasn't a favorite of head coach Lou Saban, as the two often clashed. It's fair to say that they were two strong-willed individuals under any circumstances. Gilchrist, it's also fair to say, was ahead of his time when it came to athletes questioning authority. Even though the Bills were on top of the AFL world after the 1964 season, Saban was willing to trade his star player for pennies on the dollar, relatively speaking. Denver gave up fullback Billy Joe for Gilchrist on this date. Joe ran for 377 yards in his one year as a member of the Bills.

   Gilchrist had one good year in Denver, bounced around for a couple of more, and was done in 1967 at the age of 32. He has his own Web site.

--- Budd Bailey

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