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Cookie Gilchrist: Wikis


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Cookie Gilchrist
Date of birth May 25, 1935 (1935-05-25) (age 74)
Place of birth Brackenridge, PA
Position(s) Fullback
College None
Career highlights
CFL All-Star 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959,
AFL All-Star 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965
Awards 1962 AP, UPI AFL MVP
Honors American Football League Champion, 1964
All-Time All-AFL Fullback
Records Most rushing touchdowns,
season, 13 (1962)

1965, 1967
ORFU Sarnia Imperials
ORFU Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen
CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats
CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders
CFL Toronto Argonauts
AFL Buffalo Bills
AFL Denver Broncos
AFL Miami Dolphins

Carlton Chester "Cookie" Gilchrist (born May 25, 1935) was an American football player in the American Football League.

A star player in high school, just after graduation he was talked into signing a professional football contract with the NFL's Cleveland Browns by Paul Brown. The signing was against NFL rules and likely illegal, and when Brown reneged on his promise that Gilchrist would make the team, Cookie left training camp at Hiram College, in Hiram, Ohio and went to Canada to play. There, in the Ontario Rugby Football Union (ORFU), he received the Jim Shanks (Team MVP) Trophy for the Sarnia Imperials in 1954, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmens' Team MVP Award in 1955. In 1956, he joined the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, helping lead them to a 1957 Grey Cup victory. He also played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, rushing for 1,254 yards, and played 3 years for the Toronto Argonauts. In his six years in the CFL, Gilchrist was a divisional All-Star at running back five consecutive years from 1956 to 1960 (there were no All-Canadians selected in those years) and was also an Eastern All-Star at linebacker in 1960. In his CFL career, Gilchrist gained 5111 rushing yards.

Gilchrist then joined the roster of the Buffalo Bills of the fledgling American Football League. Incidentally, Gilchrist was Buffalo's backup plan: they had actually drafted Ernie Davis to be the team's franchise running back in 1962, but Davis instead chose the NFL, but died of leukemia before ever playing a down of professional football, and the Bills instead signed Gilchrist as a free agent. While with Buffalo, Gilchrist played fullback and kicked, though he insisted he could have played both ways. He was the first 1000-yard American Football League rusher, with 1,096 in a 14-game schedule in 1962. That year he set the all-time AFL record for touchdowns with 13, and earned AFL MVP honors. Gilchrist rushed for a professional football record 243 yards and five touchdowns in a single game against the New York Jets in 1963. Though he was only with the Bills for three years (1962-1964), he remains the team's fifth leading rusher all-time, and led the league in scoring in each of his three years as a Bill. Gilchrist was legendary as a pass defense blocker. Cookies' teamwork and willingness to "step up" and block for quarterbacks was a key part of his Bills contributions, and made the Bills offense of the era a unique challenge to defend. Gilchrist ran for 122 yards in the Bills' 1964 American Football League championship defeat of the San Diego Chargers, 20-7. His 4.5 yd/rush average is second as a Bill only to O.J. Simpson.

In an early civil rights victory for black athletes, Gilchrist led a successful boycott of New Orleans as the site of the 1965 American Football League All-Star game. He is the only athlete to turn down being enshrined into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum, because of what he described as racism and exploitation by management. Gilchrist frequently was at odds with team management. He told a reporter from the London Free Press that most of the problems he encountered were a result of his standing up for principles at a time when black athletes were expected to remain silent.

Gilchrist also played for the Denver Broncos in 1965 and 1967, and the Miami Dolphins in 1966. He was an American Football League All-Star in 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965, making him one of a very few professional football players who made their league's All-Star team for ten consecutive years (six in the CFL, and four in the AFL).

Cookie Gilchrist was selected as the fullback of the All-Time All-American Football League Team.

In an article in the The Buffalo News on March 18, 2007, Gilchrist, then 71, announced that he has been treated for throat cancer. He currently lives in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania.


  • First American Football League player to gain over 1,000 yards in a season (14 games, 1,096 yards in 1962)
  • Previously held the American professional football record for most yards rushing in a game, 243 yards vs. the New York Jets, 1963.

See also

External links

Preceded by
George Blanda
American Football League MVP
with Len Dawson
Succeeded by
Lance Alworth, Clem Daniels, & Tobin Rote
Preceded by
Billy Cannon
American Football League Rushing Leader
1962 (14 games)
1,096 yds, 5.1 yds/att
Succeeded by
Clem Daniels
Preceded by
Clem Daniels
American Football League Rushing Leader
1964 (14 games)
981 yds, 4.3 yds/att
Succeeded by
Paul Lowe


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