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Former Bulldog, AU great, Burkett dies

Former Auburn All-American, NFL player, and Andalusia Bulldog Walter Jackson “Jackie” Burkett died Friday following a short battle with leukemia. He was 80.

Burkett, who was a Bulldog in his freshman and sophomore years, went on to earn a football scholarship to Auburn University and play for coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan. He was a three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection and named an All-American in 1958. He was captain of the Tigers all three seasons, including the 1957 Associated Press national championship team that finished 10-0.

In the 1960 NFL draft, the Baltimore Colts selected Burkett with the 12th overall pick. He went on to play for 11 season in the NFL, spending time with the Colts (1960-66), New Orleans Saints (1967, 1970) and Dallas Cowboys (1968-69).

He was inducted into the Alabama High School Football Hall of Fame in the 2010 inaugural class. The Wiregrass Hall of Fame inducted him in 2015.

Visitation will be Fri., Sept. 8, from 5 until 7 p.m. at Emerald Coast Funeral Home in Fort Walton Beach, and from noon until 1 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 9, at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Ft. Walton Beach. The service is set for 1 p.m.