Saturday, June 14, 2014

1963 Profile: Cookie Gilchrist

Fullback
No. 34
"Carlton (Cookie) Gilchrist, the bull from Breckinridge, Pennsylvania, who hid his many talents in the Canadian circuit, made his initial AFL season a record-breaker. He was king of all rushers with 1,096 yards for a 5.1 average; he was the No. 2 scorer with 128 points and second in touchdowns with 15.
Opponents dread tackling him and nobody is strong enough to bring him down head-on. His tremendous body balance makes him a bruising tackler.
He is a tremendous drawing card and the most publicized of any back in the league."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

"Count Carlton (Cookie) Gilchrist of the Buffalo Bills among the AFL players who would be certain All-Pro candidates in the admittedly tougher NFL. The 243-pound fullback set a new league rushing record last season when he gained 1,096 yards in 214 attempts - a neat average of 5.1 yards per carry. He scored 15 touchdowns, booted eight field goals and was voted the most valuable player in the AFL by AP and UPI.
One year ago not one fan in a hundred in the United States had even heard of Cookie. A graduate of Breckinridge (Pennsylvania) High School, Gilchrist joined the Cleveland Browns at their training camp in 1954, passing up several college scholarships for a shot at the big money pro football offers. But Cleveland considered Cookie too inexperienced so the bull-shouldered youngster tried his luck in the Canadian football world. He played on five teams in the next seven years.
'I enjoyed Canadian ball,' Gilchrist recalls, 'but I had to fight all the time for the kind of money I felt I deserved. In 1956 I played 21 games, offense and defense, for $4,800.' Constant squabbles over money forced Cookie to return to the U.S. last year and catapulted him to stardom with the Bills.
Says Bills' coach Lou Saban: 'Gilchrist is in some respects a better all-around player than Jimmy Brown. For one thing, he's a superior blocker.' A superb linebacker in Canada, Cookie gets restless when he doesn't get the chance to play defense.
'The contact, that's what I love about football,' says the 28-year-old fullback. 'I would prefer to play both ways. I get a little bored sitting on the sidelines.'
Gilchrist once took on the entire opposition bench in Canada, emerging none the worse for wear.
'I like to run at tacklers,' says Cookie. 'Especially the first time. I'm bigger than most guys who play in the secondary. So I figure if I give them a harder jolt than they give me, they'll be worried the next time.' It's a system that seems to work for the outspoken and fun-loving fullback."

-1963 Official Pro Football Almanac

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