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Ernie Davis

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Biography

Ernest "Ernie" Davis (December 14, 1939 – May 18, 1963) was an American football halfback and the first African-American athlete to win the Heisman Trophy. Wearing number 44, Davis played college football for Syracuse University before being drafted by the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL), then almost immediately traded to the Cleveland Browns in December 1961, when he was issued number 45. However, he never played a professional game, as he was diagnosed with leukemia in 1962 and died the following year. Davis was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979. He is the subject of the 2008 Universal Pictures biopic The Express, based on the non-fiction book Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express, by Robert C. Gallagher.

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