Cookie Gilchrist

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Legendary Buffalo Bills Fullback

Carlton Chester “Cookie” Gilchrist, one of Buffalo’s iconic sports figures who played for the Buffalo Bills from 1962 to 1964, was one of the American Football League’s (AFL) first marquee players. The bruising 6’ 3”, 250 lb. fullback burst onto the local scene after a six-year career in the Canadian Football League and immediately made his presence felt by becoming the AFL’s first 1,000-yard rusher (1,096 yards for a whopping 5.1 yards per carry) and scoring a league-leading 13 touchdowns to earn AFL “Player of the Year” honors.

Gilchrist was a versatile athlete who also was a place-kicker and kick-off specialist. His most notable game came in 1963 in a Bills’ victory over the NY Jets when he set a pro football record with 243 yards rushing and became only the fourth pro player to score five touchdowns in a game. In 1964, he and quarterback Jack Kemp led coach Lou Saban’s squad to an early 9-0 record and went on to defeat the defending champion San Diego Chargers, 20-7 in the AFL Championship game played in Buffalo.

A controversial figure both on and off the field during his three-year tenure in WNY, Cookie was traded to Denver after the 1964 season and played three more years before retiring from pro football in 1967.