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A Former College Football, NFL Star Has Passed Away

A general view of Colorado's football field during a game. The Buffs host the USC Trojans tonight.

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 03: A general view of the stadium as the Stanford Cardinal face the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on November 3, 2012 in Boulder, Colorado. The Cardinal defeated the Buffaloes 48-0. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Former college football and NFL star Frank Clarke passed away on Wednesday at the age of 84, according to the school. Clarke starred at Colorado and later was part of the first Dallas Cowboys team. He also played in the famed Ice Bowl in 1967.

Clarke played wide receiver, and in 1955, he was an important member of the team's aerial attack. He's regarded as one of the best players in program history and he's a member of the team's Hall of Fame.

The school issued a press release in his honor on Thursday. In it, Colorado describes his 1955 and 1956 seasons, making sure to note that it was a run-heavy era in football history:

Clarke, who was inducted into the CU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008, joined the Buffs in 1954 after playing two years at Trinidad Junior College. After sitting out a transfer year, he led the Buffs in receiving in 1955 and '56, earning honorable mention All-Big 7 honors as a junior. In an era when Colorado rarely threw the ball downfield, he still finished his career averaging 26.6 yards for 20 catches, seven of which went for touchdowns. Clarke also blocked two kicks in his career, handled most of CU's kickoff duties, and had one catch for 18 yards in CU's 27-21 win over Clemson in the 1957 Orange Bowl.

After being drafted in 1956, Clarke spent 11 seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys and the Cleveland Browns.

Clarke was also the first black player to play for Colorado. Clemson apparently was unwilling to play against the Buffaloes in the Orange Bowl but later changed its mind.

Clarke was one of two black athletes on the 1956 CU team, as another future Hall of Famer, John Wooten, had joined the Buffs soon after Clarke. When the Buffs were invited to play Clemson in the Orange Bowl, Clemson officials said the school would not play a team with black athletes.

The Buffs, however, refused to relent and said they would show up. If Clemson wanted to play, the Buffs would be waiting, and Clemson officials finally agreed to play the game.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Clarke's family and friends.