Claude Henry K. “Buddy” Young (January 5, 1926 – September 5, 1983) was an American football player and track and field athlete….who was a native of Chicago that became the Illinois state champ in the 100-yard dash…..as the diminutive 5’4″ Young was also known as the “Bronze Bullet”….who had exceptional quickness and acceleration. He is one of the shortest men ever to play in the National Football League(NFL)…..who as a track star at the University of Illinois….he won the National Collegiate Championships in the 100 and 220-yard dash….while tying the world record for the 45 and 60-yard dashes (6.1 in the latter event)….while also being the Amateur Athletic Union’s 100-meter champion.
Buddy Young played ten years in pro football…..when in 1947 he was drafted by the New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference. In 1950, Young, along with many of the other Yankee players, joined the New York Yanks of the National Football League when the AAFC folded. The Yanks moved to Dallas after the 1951 NFL season and Young played for the Texans in that city. The team moved again after the 1952 season, this time becoming the Baltimore Colts, and Young played for that team. Young retired from football after the 1955 season.
Young was a threat at several positions….wherein five times in his professional career he eclipsed 1,000 all purpose yards….and in 1954, he was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl team. Over his nine-year professional career, NFL and AAFL, Buddy Young averaged 4.6 yards per carry as a running back….plus over 15 yards per reception as a receiver….and almost 28 yards per kickoff return….while peaking at a remarkable 34.4 yards per return for the Colts in 1953. In a 1953 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Young returned the opening kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown….which at the time was the second longest kickoff return in NFL history.
Young was the first Colt to have his number retired and, in 1966, the first African-American executive hired by the NFL. At his death in 1983 in a car accident, he was 56 years old, lived in Hartsdale, New York and was Director of Player Relations for the NFL