Bill Willis Bert Bell & Paul Brown Signed AUTO 1952 NFL Cleveland Browns Contract

From the Cleveland Browns website –

“Bill Willis wasn't just a great football player but also a historical figure in the advancement of African Americans in sports and society while playing middle guard, the equivalent of middle linebacker in today's game, for the Browns from 1946-53. He and teammate Marion Motley, a fullback and a fellow Hall of Famer who was signed to serve as Willis' roommate, are credited with permanently breaking the color barrier in pro football when they appeared in the Browns' first game ever on Sept. 6, 1946, the season opener against the Miami Seahawks at Cleveland in the new All-America Football Conference. It marked the first time that an African American had appeared in a pro football game since 1933, and preceded by more than six months Jackie Robinson's much-celebrated breaking of the color barrier in major league baseball on April 15, 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Willis, one of just two defensive players among the 15 Browns players enshrined in the HOF, was an anchor on Cleveland teams that made it to the league championship game in each of Willis' eight seasons, winning five times. With his excellent quickness helping him to overcome the fact he was just 213 pounds, he was named all-league in three of his four NFL seasons while going to the Pro Bowl twice. However, his most lasting legacy may be the fact he refused to fight back against the many racial taunts he received, knowing that if he did so, it would have hurt the cause of African Americans in sports and elsewhere. Willis' decision to be different as a teenager set into motion his journey into history. Not wanting to be compared to his older brother, Claude, who had been an all-state fullback at the school a few years earlier, Willis opted to play defensive line at Columbus (Ohio) East High School and went on to become honorable mention all-state himself. He went to college just a few miles away at Ohio State, and although he was but 202 pounds at the time, he had a coach in Paul Brown who favored quickness over size and gave him the chance to play. As just a sophomore, he helped lead the 1942 Buckeyes to the school's first national championship, and in 1944, he was an All-American.”

He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Offered is his 1952 NFL contract with the Cleveland Browns of this historical figure, paying him $7700 for the season in which he’d make First Team Al-Pro and play in his 3 straight Pro Bowl game.

Signed by Willis, Paul Brown, and Bert Bell (all Pro Football Hall of Famers).

One of a kind!!!!

Item: 12679

Price: $1,795.00
Bill Willis Bert Bell & Paul Brown Signed AUTO 1952 NFL Cleveland Browns Contract