For the baseball player, see Paul Burris (baseball).
Buddy Burris
No. 67     Green Bay Packers
Date of birth: (1923-01-20)January 20, 1923
Place of birth: Nowata, Oklahoma
Date of death: November 26, 2007(2007-11-26) (aged 84)
Place of death: Norman, Oklahoma
Career information
Status: Deceased
Position(s): Offensive guard/Defensive guard
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
College: Oklahoma (1946–1948), Tulsa (1942)
High school: Muskogee High School
NFL Draft: 1947 / Round: 5 / Pick: 31
Drafted by: Green Bay Packers
 As player:
1949–1951 Green Bay Packers
Career highlights and awards
  • 1948 consensus All-American
  • 1947 All-American
  • 1946 All-American
Military service
Service/branch: United States Army
Rank: Staff sergeant

Paul "Buddy" Burris (1923–2007) was an American football player. He played college football for the Golden Hurricane at University of Tulsa, and after a hiatus to serve in the Second World War, for the Sooners at the University of Oklahoma. Burris was the first Oklahoma player to earn All-America honors in three years. After college, he played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for three years with the Green Bay Packers.

Early years[edit | edit source]

Burris was born on January 20, 1923 in Nowata, Oklahoma. He was raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma by farmer Paul "Pop" Burris.[1][2] He had five sisters and five brothers. All of his male siblings also played football, with the first three earning letters at Oklahoma: Kurt, Bob, Lynn, Lyle, and Don.[2][3] Buddy Burris attended Muskogee Central High School where he played football. There in 1939, he participated in the football team's 12–0 "Indian Bowl" victory over Daniel Webster High School of Tulsa, Oklahoma.[1]

College and military service[edit | edit source]

In 1942, Burris enrolled at the University of Tulsa. There, he played football for the Golden Hurricane under the head coach Henry Frnka. Burris played in the 1943 Sugar Bowl loss to sixth-ranked Tennessee.[3] In 1943, Burris enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Second World War in Europe and Japan.[1] While in the service, he achieved the rank of staff sergeant.[4]

After the war, Burris returned home with the intent of resuming college. At Tulsa, head coach Frnka had moved onto Tulane and had been replaced by Buddy Brothers. Burris said he liked Brothers, but was angered by one of his assistants who told him he had an obligation to return to Tulsa. Instead, Burris went to Norman, Oklahoma to watch the Oklahoma Sooners practice. First-year head coach Jim Tatum sent Burris onto the practice field where he blocked three punts. Tatum was impressed enough to offer Burris a scholarship the following week.[3]

From 1946 to 1948, Burris played offensive and defensive guard. He was one of many returning war veterans to join the team and among eight future All-Americans in the 1946 recruiting class.[3] Burris became the first Sooner to be named an All-American all three years at Oklahoma. In 1948, he was named a consensus All-American.[5] He was also the first Sooner inducted into the Helms Athletic Foundation Football Hall of Fame.[3] Burris graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in business administration.[1]

In March 1948, Oklahoma head coach Bud Wilkinson accused a scout from the Brooklyn Dodgers of the All-America Football Conference of attempting to sign three of his players: Burris, center John Rapacz, and tackle Homer Paine. The scout denied the charge, and insisted his visit to Oklahoma was licit and at the behest of Burris who wanted to discuss his potential for a future professional career.[6]

Professional career[edit | edit source]

Burris was selected in the fifth round of the 1947 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers (31st overall).[7] He played with the Packers for three seasons. In 1949, he saw action in ten games and recorded one interception and recovered one opponent fumble. In 1950, he played in nine games and returned three kickoffs for 18 yards. In 1951, he saw action in seven games and recovered one own team fumble.[8]

After his football career, Burris worked for the Dow Chemical Company.[1] He later took a job as a contracting administrator at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[1][9] He worked for the federal government until his retirement,[1] and he also owned and ran his own landscaping and tree surgery business, Burris Services.[10] Burris died of natural causes on January 20, 2007 in Norman, Oklahoma.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Former football star dies, Muskogee Phoenix, November 27, 2007, retrieved January 26, 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pat On The Back, Sports Illustrated, December 13, 1954, retrieved January 26, 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Sooners remember Burris, Tulsa World, November 27, 2007, retrieved January 26, 2009.
  4. Paul "Buddy" Burris (1923-2007), Find A Grave, November 27, 2007, retrieved January 26, 2009.
  5. All-American: Paul "Buddy" Burris, University of Oklahoma Sooners Football, retrieved January 26, 2009.
  6. Brooklyn Denies Player Switch, Spokane Daily Chronicle, March 9, 1948.
  7. Buddy Burris Statistics, Pro Football Reference, retrieved January 26, 2009.
  8. Buddy Burris Past Stats, Database Football, retrieved January 26, 2009.
  9. Former OU football star Buddy Burris dies at 84, Tulsa World, November 26, 2007, retrieved January 26, 2009.
  10. Harold Keith, 47 Straight: The Wilkinson Era at Oklahoma, p. 51, University of Oklahoma Press, 2003, ISBN 0-8061-3569-7.

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