Cheroke in 1946
|Date of birth:||January 2, 1921|
|Place of birth:||Jenners, Pennsylvania|
|Date of death:||October 19, 1986(aged 65)|
|Place of death:||Pico Rivera, California|
|Height:||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight:||195 lb (88 kg)|
|High school:||Shadyside High School|
|College:||Ohio State University|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 1946|
|Stats at pro-football-reference.com|
George "Chief" Cheroke (January 2, 1921 – October 19, 1986) was a professional American football guard who played one season for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). Cheroke grew up in Ohio and attended Ohio State University, where he was a standout player on the school's football team as a sophomore in 1941 under head coach Paul Brown. He left Ohio State after the season to join the military during World War II. When he was discharged in 1946, he joined the Browns, a new team in the AAFC coached by Brown. The Browns won the 1946 AAFC championship, but Cheroke was traded away at the end of the season. He cut his football career short to re-enlist in the Army, where he stayed for 20 years. He retired in 1965 and settled in California, working for Beckman Instrument Company in Los Angeles.
College and professional career
Cheroke grew up in Shadyside, Ohio and attended Ohio State University, where he played guard on the school's football team starting as a sophomore in 1941. Cheroke saw his first action on the varsity team after Lin Houston, the regular starter at right guard, suffered an injury. In his first game, against Pitt, Cheroke blocked a punt that led to a safety. The Ohio State Buckeyes posted a 6–1–1 record in 1941 under head coach Paul Brown and were ranked 13th in the nation by the Associated Press. He was given a trophy by the Ohio State Journal Downtown Quarterback Club as the sophomore who improved the most during the season. Cheroke left Ohio State before the 1942 season to serve in the Army Air Force during World War II. He spent over four years in the service and was deployed in the European Theatre of World War II for 18 months, rising to the rank of captain.
After his discharge in 1946, Cheroke joined the Cleveland Browns, a team under formation in the All-America Football Conference and coached by Paul Brown. Cheroke was one of five Ohio State players who signed with the Browns despite having remaining college eligibility, which caused a controversy because some Ohio State alumni and administrators wanted them to come back and play at the collegiate level. Cheroke played in all of the Browns' games in 1946 as the team finished the regular season with a 12–2 record and won the AAFC championship game.
Brown traded Cheroke and four other players to the Baltimore Colts for guard Weldon Humble before the start of the 1947 season. Cheroke, however, did not play in any games for the Colts, opting instead to re-enlist in the Army.
Later life and death
- Dietrich, John (November 7, 1941). "Graf's Lack of Old Speed and Injury to Houston Hit Ohio State". Cleveland Plain Dealer. p. 23.
- Dietrich, John (November 10, 1941). "Powerful Backfield Boosts Ohio's Chances in Vital Michigan Game". Cleveland Plain Dealer. p. 15.
- "Ohio State In the Polls". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- "Ohio State Yearly Totals". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- "New Leader Was 1940 Bench Sitter". Cleveland Plain Dealer. November 25, 1941. p. 18.
- King, Steve. "A rich history of military service". Cleveland Browns. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Sauerbrei, Harold (August 28, 1946). "Brown to Retain Seven Ex-Ohio Gridders". Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Park, Jack (2003). The Official Ohio State Football Encyclopedia. Champaign, IL: Sports Publishing LLC. pp. 234–235. ISBN 978-1-58261-695-7.
- "George Cheroke NFL Football Statistics". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
- Piascik 2007, p. 64.
- Sauerbrei, Harold (August 15, 1947). "Brown Bolsters Guard Positions". Cleveland Plain Dealer (Bowling Green, Ohio). p. 18.
- Hickey, William (December 15, 1965). "This Sporting Life...". Cleveland Plain Dealer. p. 58.