Charlie Smith (Canton Bulldogs)

Charlie Smith (Canton Bulldogs)
Charlie Smith
Place of birth Lansing, Michigan
Date of death Unknown
Position(s) Tackle
College Michigan State University
Teams
1915 Canton Bulldogs

Gideon "Charlie" Smith was an American football player. He was a tackle, who played just one game for the Canton Bulldogs of the Ohio League, becoming one of the first African-Americans to play professional football. He played for the Bulldogs as a late fourth-quarter substitute on November 28, 1915 against their rivials, the Massillon Tigers. During that game he made a game-saving fumble recovery that preserved a 6-0 Canton victory over the Tigers for the "state championship." Smith was the last African-American to play professional football exclusively prior to the formation of the National Football League.[1]

Prior to playing pro football, Smith played college football for Michigan Agricultural College (now called Michigan State University). In 1913, Spartans coach John Macklin allowed Smith to become the school's first black football player. Smith is thought to be the second black to play major-college football (Minnesota's Bobby Marshall was the first, in 1904).

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