Floyd Little, a three-time All-American running back at Syracuse and then a Hall of Famer for the Denver Broncos, has died. He was 78 years old.
Little, a native of New Haven, Conn., emerged as a football star at Syracuse University in the mid-1960s. Following in the tradition started by one of the greatest running backs of all time, Jim Brown, and Ernie Davis, the first Black player to win the Heisman Trophy, he wore No. 44 for the Orangemen. He would go on to be a First-Team All-American in 1964, 1965, and 1966, rushing for 2,750 total yards and 35 touchdowns over the three years, at over 5.3 yards per carry.
He was taken by the Denver Broncos with the No. 6 overall pick in the 1967 NFL Draft. He reached the Pro Bowl from 1968-71, and again in 1973, and was a First-team All-Pro in 1969, with two second-team nods over the next two years. His No. 44 is retired by the Broncos.
Little was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame at long last, in 2010. In May, it was revealed that he had been diagnosed with a cancerous neuroendocrine tumor. It was confirmed that he had been placed in hospice care in November.
“Floyd Little embodied what it means to be Orange.” – Chancellor Syverud pic.twitter.com/TzzEwHb5Ud
— Syracuse University (@SyracuseU) January 2, 2021
“Floyd Little was a true hero of the game,” Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker wrote in a statement about Little’s passing. “He was a man of great integrity, passion and courage. His contributions off the field were even greater than his amazing accomplishments he did on it. Floyd’s smile, heart and character epitomized what it means to have a Hall of Fame life.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Floyd’s wife, DeBorah, and their entire family. We will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in Floyd’s memory.”
Our thoughts go out to all of those impacted by Floyd Little’s passing. He lived an amazing life.