Duke lost another legend on Wednesday evening when George McAfee passed. I just happened to sit beside Bill Werber”s wife during the Florida State basketball game and realized just how special some of the players from yesteryear are. No sooner than I could think about
About twelve years ago I met George during a sports memorabilia show I participated in. He was looking at cards of himself in my glass showcase and he had to tell me that 1948 Leaf card was him. The reason being that he had a glow and epitomized good health, looking a lot younger than his age.
DURHAM, N.C. — Former Duke football standout George McAfee — a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame — passed away on Wednesday evening in Durham. He was 90.
A native of Ironton, Ohio, McAfee lettered on the gridiron at Duke from 1937-39, helping the Blue Devils to a three-year ledger of 24-4-1 with two Southern Conference championships (1938 & 1939) and an appearance in the Rose Bowl following the 1938 campaign. As a senior in 1939, he led Duke in rushing, receiving, scoring, kickoff returns, punt returns, interceptions and punting en route to earning first team All-America honors as the Blue Devils went 8-1. In the spring of his senior year, McAfee batted .353 while playing centerfield on Duke’s baseball squad that went 16-7 and also captured the 100-meter crown at the Southern Conference track and field championships.
The second pick overall in the 1940 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, McAfee played eight seasons (1940-41; 1945-50) with the Chicago Bears and recorded career totals of 234 points, 5,022 combined yards and 21 interceptions. In his first regular season contest, McAfee returned a kickoff 93 yards and threw a touchdown pass as the Bears defeated Green Bay, 41-10. An All-NFL selection in 1941, he led the league in punt return average in 1948 and set the all-time record for career punt return average (12.78). McAfee guided the Bears to NFL championships in 1940 and 1946 and had his jersey number 5 retired by the organization.
McAfee was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1961 and into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966.
Following his playing career, McAfee officiated in the NFL for several years and operated an oil business in Durham. He was a member of the inaugural Duke Sports Hall of Fame class in 1975 along with Eddie Cameron, Dan Hill, Ace Parker, Wallace Wade and Bill Werber.