NFL Hall of Fame safety and long-time team executive Larry Wilson passed away Thursday evening. He was 82 years old.
Wilson was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the seventh round in 1960 out of Utah. He originally played halfback, but switched to safety in fear that he would be cut if he remained playing halfback. The position change was a blessing in disguise.
Wilson quickly became one of the best safeties in NFL history. He was one of the biggest hitters in league history and revolutionized the safety position as we currently know it. He spent 13 seasons playing for the Arizona Cardinals - Wilson made the Pro Bowl eight times and was named to the all-NFL six times.
Wilson passed away at the age of 82 Thursday night. He's survived by his wife, Nancy, his two children and several grandchildren.
Larry Wilson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978 on the first ballot. During his NFL career, he racked up 52 interceptions and 800 interception return yards.
Following the end of his playing days, Wilson got a job in the Cardinals' front office. He worked for the organization from 1972 to 2003.
Cardinals' owner Michael Bidwill released a touching statement following the passing of Wilson Thursday night.
"It's fitting that his passing coincides with the league's 100th birthday because his toughness and the way he revolutionized his position make him one of our game's most unforgettable figures," Bidwill said, via AZCardinals.com. "Whether on the field playing with casts on both hands or brightening the lives of every person he knew, Larry's selflessness defined who he was and how we will all remember him."
Wilson will most certainly be missed, but his legacy will live on.