gen. . Douglas MacArthur urged him to attend West Point, but he became an orangeman in order to keep a promise to Ernie Davis.
Floyd Little, who followed Jim Brown and Ernie Davis in an extraordinary line of all-American running backs at Syracuse University, each No.. 44, and whoever put it back on while forging a Hall of Fame career with the Denver Broncos, died Friday at his Henderson, Nev. Home. , near Las Vegas. He was 78 years old.
His death has been confirmed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was diagnosed with cancer last year and was in hospice care.
Little was only 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, but he was strong enough to break lines of defense and be agile in the open field, playing for the Broncos from 1967 to 1975.
Little played for Syracuse from 1964 to 1966, ran 2. 704 yards, had 46 touchdowns and was an excellent kick-returner. He was a three-time All-American and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in 2010 after losing hope of a selection.
Little has been rated No. 1 by the Broncos of the American Football League. 1 selected. 6 Selection of the pro football draft in 1967, three years before the N. . F.. . L.. . absorbed the A. . F.. . L.. . Teams. The Broncos had never set a record since the A.. F.. . L.. . The inaugural 1960 season, however, Little became known as the « franchise » to give hope to their fans, though the team continued to struggle during his time in Denver.
« I know when I got there it was about the team’s move to Chicago or Birmingham, » Little told The Associated Press in 2009. “So I supposedly saved the franchise. ”
Little did the N. . F.. . L.. . in rushing yards with 1. 133 in 1971 and in rushing touchdowns with 12 in 1973 and was named to five Pro Bowl games. He scored 43 touchdowns in his career as well as nine on receptions and two on punt returns, and ran 6. 323 yards with an average of 3. 9 yards per carry.
« Floyd Little and I studied together at Syracuse University, » said President-elect Joseph R. . Biden Jr. . said in a statement on Saturday. “I was a lawyer and he was a star halfback on the soccer team. I saw him play at Archbold Stadium, his No.. 44 flashes from defenders who didn’t stand a chance and runs like he’s chasing the ghost of his dear friend and legend, Ernie Davis. ”
« In the years that followed, I got to know Floyd as the man behind the number, » said Mr. . Said Biden. “He was full of character, decency, and integrity. ”
Floyd Douglas Little was born on Jan.. Born July 1942 in Waterbury, Conn. His father Frederick Douglas, named after the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, died of cancer at the age of 6. His mother, Lula Douglas, worked several jobs to support Floyd and his five siblings. The family moved to New Haven when he was in his early teens.
Little played two seasons football for Hillhouse High School in New Haven, then two more at the Bordentown Military Institute in New Jersey to improve his grades for college. « The only thing I had was a dream, » the Broncos quoted Little when visiting New Haven in 1988. “I had no money, no promises, and no guarantees. ”
Little had thought about applying to West Point and Gen. Douglas MacArthur tried to recruit him while he was in Bordentown.
« General MacArthur shook my hand and talked to me about the value of education, about being a leader, » Little recalled in his memoir, Promises to Keep, written with Tom Mackie (2012). “I was told that if I joined the army, I could become the first black general. ”
But in December 1962, when he was away from Bordentown on the winter break, Little was visited by Davis, who in 1961 became the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy for Outstanding Player of College Football.
Little, who had nearly 50 scholarship offers, told Davis he would go to Syracuse. But he still had thoughts of visiting West Point. When he heard that Davis died of leukemia in May 1963 after being named No.. 1 had been selected. 1 selection in the 1962 N. . F.. . L.. . Draft he decided to keep his promise to him.
Jim Brown, the first of three spectacular No.. The 44ers in Syracuse, who played for the Orangemen from 1954 to 1956, became one of the greatest defenders in professional football history, playing for the Browns from 1957 to 1965.
Little earned a Masters in Legal Administration from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law in 1975 and owned car dealerships after retiring from football.
One of his survivors is his wife DeBorah; his son Marc; his daughters Christy and Kyra; and several grandchildren.
When Little was named Special Assistant to the Sports Director in Syracuse in 2011, a position he held until 2016, he thought again of Ernie Davis.
« When I came to Syracuse, I tried to imitate what Ernie was and what he would be, » ESPN quoted him as saying. « My life was tied to Ernie’s life because I wanted to be the Ernie Davis he couldn’t be. ”
Floyd Little, Denver Broncos, Syracuse Orange Football, Running Back, American Football, NFL, Syracuse University
World News – USA – Floyd Little, star running back for Syracuse and Broncos, is dying at 78
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