Thursday, July 25, 2013

Former Flaget, Kentucky and Miami Dolphins quarterback Rick Norton dies at 69

Rick Norton, a Flaget High School and University of Kentucky great who later played quarterback for the Miami Dolphins during their inaugural season in 1966, died Thursday in Louisville. He was 69.

John Norton said his brother had battled heart disease and died of natural causes.

Rick Norton was a first-team All-State selection by The Courier-Journal in 1961 as a senior at Flaget. Coach Paulie Miller called him “the best passer in the United States.”

He played three seasons (1963-65) at UK and was a team co-captain as a senior, when the Wildcats finished 6-4. He was named a first-team All-American by Time Magazine and NBC.

In 1966 he was drafted by both professional leagues, choosing the AFL’s Dolphins over the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. He played in 31 games over four seasons (1966-69) for the Dolphins, starting 11 of them. He played in one game for the Green Bay Packers in 1970 before retiring from football.

John Norton said his brother later worked in construction in Lexington before taking jobs in state government. He worked for Kentucky State Parks and also was executive director of the Kentucky State Racing Commission during Gov. Martha Layne Collins’ tenure from 1983-87.

He is survived by a son, Rick Jr., and two daughters, Stacey and Cindy. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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