Broncos legend Floyd Little, 78, dead after recent bout with cancer

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Hall of Fame running back Floyd Little, a star for the Denver Broncos in the 1970s, died Saturday. He was 78.

Little’s former Syracuse University teammate Pat Killorin said in May that Little was battling cancer.

“Floyd Little was not only a Hall of Fame running back, he was a Hall of Fame person. Faith, family and football were the pillars of his life,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

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“I was so fortunate to know Floyd and witnessed first-hand the impact he had on others. Whenever he represented the Broncos at the annual NFL Draft, others immediately sought to greet him and his genuine excitement of being with his fellow Legends and his pride and passion for the Broncos was unmistakable.

“Football, the Broncos and the NFL were a large part of his life, but nothing could surpass his love and affection for his wife DeBorah and his children, Marc, Christy and Kyra. To them and the entire Little family we extend our deepest sympathy.

“He worked to inspire many to be the best they could be, saying at his 2010 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: ‘Leave a legacy that you and your family can be proud.’​

“You left us all proud to have known you. Thank you, Floyd.”

Little starred at Syracuse in the 1960s before turning pro.

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“The legacy that he leaves here is so much more than just one who wore 44, was an All-American, was in the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement. “Floyd’s legacy is that he was a wonderful, wonderful person. He treated everyone with genuine care and respect and was always there for people. His impact as a person is those that he impacted. He was always willing to share his time, his wisdom, his support.”

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Little was a three-time All-American at Syracuse from 1964-66. The Broncos selected him No. 6 overall in the 1967 NFL-AFL Draft and he spent his entire career with the team.

Little played for the Broncos from 1967 to 1975. He led the league in rushing in 1971 with 1,133 yards on 284 carries. He led the league in rushing touchdowns with 12 in 1973.

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He finished his NFL career with 6,323 rushing yards and 43 rushing touchdowns. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and was named First-Team All-Pro in 1969. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

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