Ron Burton (July 25, 1936 - September 13, 2003) became a college All-American running back at Northwestern University, a member of the Northwestern Hall of Fame, and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Burton was the Boston Patriots' first-ever American Football League draft choice in 1960. He was the first Patriot to rush for over 100 yards: 127 against the Denver Broncos on 23 October 1960. His 91-yard touchdown return on a missed field goal in 1962 remains a Patriot record. He compiled 1,009 combined yards in rushing and receiving in 1962, and provided strong depth at running back for the Patriots from 1960 through 1965.
After leaving professional football, this former child of poverty became an eminently successful motivational speaker who then made a major financial and emotional gift to needy children. In Massachusetts, he donated land for and established the Ron Burton Training Village, which holds free summer camps for disadvantaged inner-city youths.
In 2003, Burton died from bone cancer.