Wray Carlton

Linwood Wray Carlton (born June 18, 1937) is a former American collegiate and professional football running back who played professionally in both Canada and the U.S.

Unable to come to terms with the Philadelphia Eagles, who had selected him in the 1959 NFL Draft, Carlton, a Duke University running back, traveled to Toronto and the Canadian Football League to play for the Argonauts. His Canadian career lasted only four games before he declined a trade to Vancouver, British Columbia, and went home. But another league and another opportunity was in his future.

In his early years with the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League, Carlton formed a virtually unstoppable backfield tandem with Carlton Chester "Cookie" Gilchrist.

On September 18, 1960, in Buffalo's home opener, a 27-21 loss to the Denver Broncos, Carlton made history in the second quarter when he scored the team's first touchdown on a one-yard run. Carlton gained 1,010 yards from scrimmage (533 rushing- 477 receiving) and 11 TDs in the Bills first season.

Later he helped the Bills win back-to-back league championships in 1964 and 1965. Perennially among the AFL's top rushers, he led the league in rushing touchdowns in 1965 and was voted to the American Football League Eastern Division All-Star team in 1965 and 1966. Carlton was the Bills' all-time leading rusher during their AFL years, with a 4.1 yards per carry average.

In January 2012 it was announced that Carlton will be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

By Dean Hanley

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