03/20/2012 10:50 EDT | Updated 05/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Football taken from Ernie Davis' NY grave found, returned; he was 1st black to win Heisman

ELMIRA, N.Y. - A football taken from the upstate New York grave of 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis has been found.

Elmira media outlets report that a couple walking in Elmira's Woodlawn Cemetery on Saturday found the ball under a bush near the grave and returned it to the cemetery's superintendent.

The football was discovered missing from its display case on March 15.

The ball has disappeared several times previously, only to turn up later on the cemetery grounds.

Davis was an all-American at Syracuse University and the first black player to win the Heisman. He died of leukemia in 1963 at age 23.

The Elmira Star-Gazette reports that the ball was placed at his grave last year by the commissioner of a local flag football league to honour Davis' accomplishments.