Ron Burton was considered the best high school football player in the state of Ohio, he went on to become an All-Ohio and All-American running back and two-time All-Big Ten at Northwestern University from 1958 to 1960.

In 1960 he finished 10th in the voting for the Heisman Trophy and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1st round and 9th overall in the 1960 NFL Draft and the first-ever pick by the Boston Patriots in the newly formed American Football League.

He decided to sign with the Patriots and spent six seasons with them, where he rushed for 1536 yards, caught 111 passes for 1205 yards, and scored 17 touchdowns. In 1962 he won the Patriot's Most Valuable Player Award.

Following his career he remained in New England, where he made a commitment to philanthropy. He served on many civic boards and charities and was widely recognized for his service and philanthropy.

The Patriots created a community service award in 2003 and named it after Ron Burton. The award is presented annually to the player who makes the greatest impact in the New England community. He was elected to the National Football College Hall of Fame and the Northwestern Hall of Fame.

Ron Burton passed away from multiple myeloma on September 13, 2003, at age 67, in Framingham, Mass.