Marlin Briscoe, first Black starting QB in AFL, dies at age 76

Marlin Briscoe, who became the first black quarterback in the American Football League more than 50 years ago, died Monday.

His daughter Angela Marriott told The Associated Press that Briscoe, 76, died of pneumonia at a hospital in Norwalk, California. He was taken to the hospital with circulatory problems in his legs.

Briscoe, an Omaha, Nebraska native, was a star quarterback at Omaha University before the Denver Broncos drafted him as a 14th-round cornerback in 1968. Briscoe told the team he would return home to be a teacher if he couldn’t get a try at quarterback. Denver agreed to an audition, and the 5-foot-10 dynamo nicknamed “The Magician” was on the starting lineup on October 6.

Briscoe started five games this season. He finished second for AFL Rookie of the Year after rushing for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushing for 308 yards and three points.

Denver didn’t give him a chance to run for the quarterback job in 1969, so he asked for his release. He was a Pro Bowl receiver with the Buffalo Bills and won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins. He was a receiver on the 1972 Dolphins team that ended on a perfect season.

Briscoe was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Marlin Briscoe, first Black starting QB in AFL, dies at age 76

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