10 Sep 1939 1
16 Jul 1992 1

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Full Name:
Junious Buchanan 1
10 Sep 1939 1
16 Jul 1992 1
Social Security:
Social Security Number: ***-**-6745 1

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Buck Buchanan, 51, Dies of Cancer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Buck Buchanan, one of the great defensive tackles of the modern era of the NFL, died Thursday after a battle with lung cancer that began the week he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A spokesman for the Kansas City Chiefs said Buchanan, 51, died at his home.

Drafted No. 1 out of Grambling in 1963, the 6-foot-8, 300-pound Buchanan helped the Chiefs reach the first Super Bowl and win the fourth.

  "He revolutionized the game," former Raider coach John Madden once said. "Guys that size usually played on the outside. Buck was the first tall guy to play the inside."

A six-time All-Pro, the quiet, soft-spoken Alabama native spent most of his career with the Chiefs and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in August of 1990, days after doctors discovered cancer. After retiring in 1975, Buchanan became one of Kansas City's most esteemed civic and business leaders.

Willie Lanier, an All-Pro linebacker on the Chiefs' Super Bowl teams and fellow member of the Hall of Fame, was with Buchanan during the ceremony in Canton, Ohio. Like almost everyone else, Lanier had no inkling of the news that had dropped on Buchanan.

"Just imagine the conflicting emotions he must have been dealing with," Lanier said. "He chose to spare his friends and associates the painful news. Being around him all that weekend, then the next week learning what was going on, what had been going on, it was mind-boggling."

As his condition worsened, a parade of friends and teammates trekked to Buchanan's home.

"I talked with Buck two days ago," said Hank Stram, who coached the Chiefs in two Super Bowls and was with Buchanan at his induction in 1990. "I went away thinking that it would probably be the last time I'd see him. Even though you know you're about to lose somebody, you're never really ready when it happens."

The son of a steelworker, Junious Buchanan was born Sept. 10, 1940, in Birmingham, Ala., and almost followed his father into the mills. Despite his brilliant high school career, few scholarships were available to black kids in the late 1950s. But a relative contacted Grambling Coach Eddie Robinson, who offered one.

The Chiefs took him with the overall No. 1 choice in the AFL draft in 1963, a pick obtained from the Oakland Raiders in the only trade owner Chief Lamar Hunt ever personally made.

The Raiders' Al Davis paid Buchanan the ultimate compliment by drafting Gene Upshaw in the first round in 1967 for the express purpose of neutralizing Buchanan.

Upshaw, a Hall of Fame guard, says he didn't always get it done.

"I was big, but Buck was bigger and stronger and turned me every which way but loose," Upshaw said. "You don't imagine a guy 6-8, 300 pounds being so quick. You'd go to hit him, and it was like hitting a ghost."

A funeral is scheduled Monday at Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City.

Buck Buchanan, 51, Star on Line For Football's Kansas City Chiefs



  Buck Buchanan, a defensive lineman whose combination of size, strength and quickness carried him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died of lung cancer today at his home here. He was 51 years old.

Mr. Buchanan, one of the dominant players from 1963 to 1975 for the Kansas City Chiefs, had battled the illness for two years. But he never mentioned his illness during his acceptance speech at the Hall of Fame ceremony in 1990, so as not to sour the moment for others being inducted that day.

The son of a steelworker, Mr. Buchanan was born on Sept. 10, 1940, in Birmingham, Ala., and almost followed his father into the mills, despite a brilliant multisport career in high school. Few college scholarships were available to black young people in the late 1950's, but a relative of Mr. Buchanan contacted Coach Eddie Robinson of Grambling, a small, predominantly black college, and Mr. Robinson had a scholarship to offer. Drafted in First Round

The Chiefs, then the Dallas Texans, selected the 6-foot-8-inch, 300-pound lineman in the first round of the 1963 American Football League draft. The team then moved to Kansas City in time for the 1963 season.

"At that time, I was the first player from a small black school drafted in the first round," Mr. Buchanan once recalled. "It said a lot for a player from the Gramblings, the Prairie Views. That was important to me."

The New York Giants of the rival National Football League also drafted Buchanan, but he went with the Chiefs, where he was selected as an All-Pro player six times, played in 181 of 182 regular-season games and set the standard for modern defensive tackles.

"A big guy will be strong, and he might be quick, but he is rarely fast," said Hank Stram, Mr. Buchanan's coach with the Chiefs. "Or sometimes he's strong and fast, but not quick. But Buck had it all: plus he had a great attitude." Talented Supporting Cast

From 1966 to 1971, the Chiefs surrounded Mr. Buchanan with a host of talented teammates, including the quarterback Len Dawson and the linebacker Willie Lanier, and Kansas City reached the Super Bowl twice, winning in 1970 against Minnesota. Last Wednesday, the Chiefs announced that on Aug. 24 they would retire the jersey numbers of Mr. Buchanan, Mr. Lanier and the place-kicker Jan Stenerud.

After Mr. Buchanan retired, he became a defensive-line coach with Mr. Stram and the New Orleans Saints in 1976. After Mr. Stram was dismissed by the Saints, Mr. Buchanan moved to the Cleveland Browns as a coach in 1978, but he quit after one season and returned to Kansas City to operate a restaurant.

He went on to become one of Kansas City's most respected businessmen and civic leaders. He opened a construction and advertising business in the early 1980's, served as president of the Black Chamber of Commerce, and, in 1989, was appointed to the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners.

Mr. Buchanan is survived by his wife, Georgia; two sons, Eric and Dwaine, and a daughter, Nicole.


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