LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rodger Bird, a halfback/defensive back from 1963-65, has been named a 2011 Southeastern Conference Football Legend and will represent Kentucky this weekend at the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, Ga.
Bird will be honored at the SEC Legends Dinner on Friday night and participate in SEC FanFare activities at the Georgia World Congress Center, adjacent to the Georgia Dome, on Saturday. The Legends will be introduced during the SEC Championship Game.
Bird was a first-team All-America in 1965 by Time magazine and NBC and two-time All-SEC (1964, 1965) by Associated Press and United Press International. A native of Corbin, Ky. – known as the “Corbin Comet” – his first play as a collegian was a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Virginia Tech. Bird rushed for 1,699 yards and 21 touchdowns during his career, and, as an excellent pass receiver and kick returner, totaled 3,333 all-purpose yards as a Wildcat.
Bird set several school records during his career and still holds the record for most touchdowns in a game (4). A standout safety on defense, he intercepted five passes as a Wildcat, including a 95-yard touchdown return vs. Auburn in 1964. He was a first-round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders and he played six years in pro football as a defensive back.
Bird is the youngest of a famous trio of brothers who played at UK. Jerry Bird played for the basketball Wildcats from 1954-56 and Billy Bird was a football player in the early 1960s.