NFL's first black quarterback honored by high school

Updated: September 29, 2006, 11:55 AM ET
Associated Press

Willie Thrower
AP PhotoWillie Thrower, seen here in this file photo, was the first black quarterback to play in the NFL.
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. -- The National Football League's first black quarterback has been honored with a statue at the football field where his high school alma mater used to play.

Willie Thrower, who died in 2002, became the first black quarterback when he played in one game for the Chicago Bears in 1953, after a stellar career at Michigan State and, before that, at New Kensington High School, about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

On Thursday night, a sculpture of Thrower was dedicated at New Kensington's Valley Memorial field before a game between Valley High School and Shady Side Academy. Valley was a school created in 1967 when New Kensington High School merged with neighboring Arnold High School.

Pittsburgh Steelers owners Dan and Art Rooney were at the game, among other dignitaries.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press