George Buksar, 84, of Solon, Played in the NFL
Buksar played for the Baltimore Colts and Washington Redskins in the early 1950s
George B. Buksar started selling office machines for IBM (International Business Machines) in 1949, while beginning his professional football career with the Chicago Hornets of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC).
The Solon resident, who died Feb. 22 at age 84, recognized that he had to prepare for life after football.
According to Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football by Robert W. Peterson, Buksar spent weekday mornings at football practice and afternoons learning how to operate IBM products. Before the season ended, he was selling office machines in the Chicago area.
The AAFC existed for four seasons, all of which ended with the Cleveland Browns taking home the championship title. The league and the Hornets, previously known as the Rockets, folded at the end of 1949.
The Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts joined the National Football League in 1950. Buksar did, too, as a member of the Colts.
The 6-foot-tall 206-pound linebacker and fullback led the Colts with nine interceptions and set an NFL record with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Buksar played the 1951 and ’52 seasons with the Washington Redskins. He added punt- and kick-returner to his duties in ’51 and kicker in 1952. He had a good point-after percentage of 83.3, making 15 of the 18 post-touchdown kicks he attempted.
His field goal percentage was less impressive with three successful attempts out of seven. One of those field goals was made against the Cleveland Browns in a losing cause in November 1952.
Buksar, who had continued working for IBM, had no problem making the transition after his early retirement from football.
He relocated several times during his sales and marketing career with IBM. He later worked for Reliance Electric.
In 1987, Buksar moved from Pittsburgh to Solon. Most recently, he was sales manager for Industrial Valves in Cleveland.
He was born Aug. 12, 1926, in St. Joseph, MI, and grew up with his seven siblings in Indiana.
Buksar, who was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 2000, excelled at football, basketball, baseball and track at George Rogers Clark High School in Hammond, IN.
He served briefly in the Navy at the end of World War II, then went to Purdue University, which awarded him a full scholarship. He played halfback for the Boilermakers in 1946 before transferring to the University of San Francisco.
In the college ranks, Buksar set records for rushing yardage, touchdowns scored and punting average. He broke a school record by scoring 45 points in a basketball game at San Francisco.
Buksar was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 10th round of the 1949 NFL Draft. The 94th pick overall, he was drafted ahead of NFL great George Blanda (119th).
He also was drafted by the Chicago Hornets in the AAFC, was signed to pitch for the Brooklyn Dodgers and played professional basketball for the Baltimore Bullets.
Survivors include his wife, Marilyn (nee Schoedel); three children, Cindy Hall, Lori and Robert; and siblings, Elizabeth Turich, Steve and Emil.
Calling hours are 4-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, at Kindrich-McHugh Steinbauer Funeral Home, 33375 Bainbridge Road.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at St. Rita Catholic Church, 32820 Baldwin Road.