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QB, Congressman Jack Kemp Dies

Dan T.

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WASHINGTON – Jack Kemp, the ex-quarterback, congressman, one-time vice-presidential nominee and self-described "bleeding-heart conservative" died Saturday.

His spokeswoman Bona Park and longtime friend and former campaign adviser Edwin J. Feulner confirmed that Kemp died after a lengthy illness.

Kemp had announced in January 2009 that he had been diagnosed with cancer. He said he was undergoing tests but gave no other detail.

Kemp, a former quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, represented western New York for nine terms in Congress, leaving the House for an unsuccessful presidential bid in 1988.

Eight years later, after serving a term as President George H.W. Bush's housing secretary, he made it onto the national ticket as Bob Dole's running-mate.

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None of the articles list his age. He was 73, born July 13, 1935.

He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 17th round of the 1957 NFL draft. He was cut from the team before the 1957 NFL season began. He spent 1957 with the Pittsburgh Steelers and 1958 on the taxi squads of the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers.

In 1960 he signed with the Los Angeles Chargers of the newly formed AFL. In '61 the team moved to San Diego and he led the team to the AFC championship game, where they lost to the Houston Oilers.

In 1962, Kemp broke his middle finger two games into the season and was unable to play. Chargers coach Sid Gillman put Kemp on waivers to try to "hide" him. Buffalo Bills coach Lou Saban noticed that Kemp was available and claimed him for a $100 waiver fee on September 25, 1962, in what sportswriter Randy Schultz has called one of the biggest bargains in professional football history. The Dallas Texans and Denver Broncos also attempted to claim Kemp, but he was awarded to Buffalo by AFL commissioner Joe Foss, where he continued his illustrious career.

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