Joseph Gilliam, Jr. (
December 29, 1950- December 25, 2000) was an American footballplayer.NFL player Joe Gilliam
December 29, 1950
December 25, 2000(age 49)
Tennessee State University
Over-all Draft pick= N/A
Joe Gilliam was born in
Charleston, West Virginiaand was the third of four children of Ruth and Joe Gilliam, Sr.
Gilliam grew up on the campus of Tennessee A&I State University (renamed Tennessee State University in 1968). His father was a defensive coordinator at TSU.
The younger Gilliam displayed his own athletic abilities at a young age, beginning at Nashville’s Washington Junior high School, where he participated in tumbling, track, and basketball. In 1966, he became the starting quarterback at Pearl High School and led the squad when they played in the city’s first season of integrated football. Gilliam kept close to the Tiger football team by serving as a ball boy [ [http://www.aaregistry.com/african_american_history/1373/Joe_Gilliam_Jr_Had_athletic_leadership_skills] , Joe Gilliam Jr. Had athletic leadership skills, The African American Registry. Last Accessed
September 27, 2007] .
Gilliam Jr.'s daughter Is R&B Singer Joi. His ex son-in-law is rapper
Big Gippof the Goodie Mob. On July 1, 1996his granddaughter Keypsiia Blue Daydreamer was born.
Gilliam was drafted by the
Pittsburgh Steelersin 1972 in the 11th round after a college footballcareer at Tennessee State Universitywhere he was a two-time All-American. He became the Steelers' starting Quarterbackin 1974 but lost the job when Terry Bradshawwas chosen to lead the team after the first six games of the season. Gilliam was out of the National Football Leagueat the end of 1975 He battled cocaine and alcohol addiction on and off over the next few years.
In 1981 Gilliam returned to football, playing quarterback for the semi-pro New Orleans Blue Knights of the Dixie Football League. In 1983, Gilliam attempted a comeback to pro football in the
United States Football Leaguewith the Washington Federals. He did not have much success and retired from the sport for good after that season.
Gilliam ran a football camp in Nashville at times. He earned the nickname "Jefferson Street Joe" for the boulevard that runs by Tennessee State University in Nashville. [http://www.blackathlete.net/artman/publish/article_0318.shtml]
Gilliam died of a heart attack on
December 25, 2000shortly after watching the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys at the Tennessee Titans. He had been sober for four years prior to his death and was able to attend the final Steelers game at Three Rivers Stadium.
* [http://www.aaregistry.com/african_american_history/1373/Joe_Gilliam_Jr_Had_athletic_leadership_skills Joe Gilliam Jr at African American Registry]
* [http://www.post-gazette.com/steelers/20001230gilliam2.asp Gilliam paved the way for black quarterbacks in the NFL]
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