Best known as the first black quarterback in professional football when he played for the Denver Broncos in 1968, Marlin Briscoe, a former Bills wide receiver passed away Monday.
A 14th-round pick of the Broncos out of Nebraska-Omaha in 1968, Denver had planned to convert him to cornerback. But Briscoe insisted on competing to play quarterback, and when starter Steve Tensi got hurt and his backup was inconsistent, Briscoe got his chance.
As a rookie, Briscoe threw 14 touchdown passes and averaged more than 17 yards per completion as the team went 2-3 in his five starts for Denver.
Heading into the 1969 season, Briscoe learned that then Denver head coach Lou Saban planned to start Pete Liske at quarterback and asked for his release. He was signed by the Bills where he would line up at wide receiver the next three seasons.
Briscoe led the Bills in touchdown catches each of the next three years and twice led the club in receptions. His best professional season came in a Bills uniform in 1970 when he had 57 receptions for 1,036 yards to average better than 18 yards per catch and eight touchdowns. He was named All-Pro that year.
In 1971, Briscoe was traded to the Miami Dolphins for a first-round pick that became Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure.
Briscoe meanwhile won a pair of Super Bowls with the Dolphins in 1972 and 1973 and was a major contributor as he had more receptions than Hall of Famer Paul Warfield in their 1973 campaign.
Briscoe was 76-years old.