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Remembrances of Cookie

Here are some excerpts of interviews I've done over the years related to Cookie Gilchrist:

From Hall of Fame guard Billy Shaw: "Cookie didn’t take a back seat to anybody. There are a lot of Cookie stories. I remember the first game that Cookie played with us. It was an exhibition game in New Haven, Conn. We rode a bus from Buffalo to New Haven. We played the game and Cookie had just come with us. He knew two plays - 34 slide and 35 slide. It was straight ahead runs. We played the first half and came in at halftime and Cookie completely undressed. He took every thread that he had on off. And I remember Lou Saban telling him that, ‘In America we play two halves, Cookie.’ That was his ritual. He took everything off. He did not take a shower. He just took it all off and cooled off and put it back on again. He got like he came into this world. We thought, what have we got ahold of here? But it didn't take just a couple plays to know we had something special."

More Shaw: "There was none any better than Cookie in hitting the hole from tackle to tackle. He would punish the blocker in front of him if he didn’t get out of the way. He would punish the defensive linebackers and the big tackles. He was just a marvelous player. The sweeps and the long traps got their feet antsy, and then it was much easier to run up front. I have scars in my back now where someone would stalemate me and here comes Cookie. He didn’t care what color jersey you had on, he was going forward."

From Paul Maguire: "Cookie was the toughest guy I ever saw as a running back he was the biggest one I think ever to play at that time - at 238 pounds. And he feared absolutely nothing. I remember the first year in ‘64 we went to play the Boston Patriots in the last game. We had them by a half a game and we had to win the game to play in the championship game. We’re in Boston. Usually the guys are sitting around and playing cards before the game. Everybody’s sitting in these little cubicles thinking about the game, and Saban comes out to say something. And just as he did, Cookie jumps up and says “I’m going to tell you guys something. I’m going to kick the (xxx) out of every guy in this room if we lose this game, including the coaching staff. I’ll tell you what: Everybody sank back into their seats for a second and thought about this, and we went out and beat the hell out of them."

From the late Jack Kemp: “Cookie was better than Jim Brown. Jim Brown is a good friend of mine, but Cookie in my opinion was better all around. He could block. He could catch passes. He could tackle. He could kick field goals. Jim Brown was the greatest runner. Cookie was greater all-around. Cookie almost single-handedly beat the Patriots in that famous game in Fenway Park back in ‘64 in the snowstorm when we won the AFL East."

(Kemp was being a little modest. Gilchrist played a great game, but Kemp also passed for 286 yards, threw one TD and ran for two more.)

There are more stories in the obituary in Tuesday's editions of The Buffalo News.

Also: Gilchrist's nephew, Thomas Gilchrist, said condolences can be sent care of Cookie to 322 Mall Blvd. Suite 164, Monroeville, Pa., 15146.

---Mark Gaughan




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