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Floyd Little, Hall of Fame Broncos RB, Dies at Age 78

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2021

Floyd Little, running back for the Denver Broncos, 1972. Location unknown. (AP Photo)
Uncredited/Associated Press

Hall of Fame running back Floyd Little, a three-time first-team All-American at Syracuse and a five-time Pro Bowl selection with the Denver Broncos, has died at the age of 78.

Jim Fuller of the Greenwich Time reported Little entered hospice care in late November after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in May.

Syracuse chancellor Kent Syverud and Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker released statements of condolence:

Syracuse University @SyracuseU

“Floyd Little embodied what it means to be Orange.” – Chancellor Syverud https://t.co/TzzEwHb5Ud

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

From @ProFootballHOF’s David Baker on the passing of #Broncos Hall of Fame RB Floyd Little https://t.co/pfNb35hJmE

Little scored 39 total touchdowns in 31 appearances across his three seasons with the Orange from 1964 through 1966.

He was then selected with the sixth overall pick in the 1967 draft, which was the first to include both AFL and NFL teams following the leagues' 1966 merger.

The Connecticut native became a focal point of the Broncos' offense throughout his nine-year career. He led the league in rushing yards (1,113) in 1971 and rushing touchdowns (12) in 1973.

Little's No. 44 was retired by both Syracuse in 2005, a joint honor alongside fellow standout rushers Jim Brown and Ernie Davis, and the Broncos after his retirement in 1975. He was also placed on Denver's Ring of Fame in 1984.

He was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

Little had to wait 35 years after his retirement to be enshrined in Canton, but he never lost the support of his fellow players.

"I urge you to give Floyd Little what he deserves—his place in the Hall of Fame," former Baltimore Colts tight end John Mackey wrote in 1997. "It took me 20 years. Please don't make Floyd wait any longer. If you can't find a place for Floyd Little, please take me out and put him in."

In addition to his decorated football career, Little also graduated from the University of Denver law school with a master's degree.

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