When Floyd Little was a child, he tied his legs with belts.His bent legs were a source of teasing teenagers, so it was inevitable that being before bed became as routine as getting dressed his pajamas or brushing his teeth

“I had belts around my thighs, belts around my knees, belts around my calves so I could wake up one day and my legs were straight,” Little said, “I hated being bowlegged.”

Little never grew out of his state, but grew over the years to appreciate his legs, in fact using them to follow two iconic setbacks in Syracuse, give credence to a struggling professional football franchise, and save himself and himself secure a career in the Hall of Fame

Little died Friday aged 78 after suffering from cancer since May and admitted to hospice care in November.He is survived by his wife, DeBorah and three children: Marc Little, Kyra Little DaCosta, and Christy Little Jones

“Floyd Little wasn’t just a receding Hall of Fame, he was also a Hall of Fame person. Faith, family and football were the pillars of his life,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement, “I had the big one Good luck knowing Floyd and seeing firsthand the impact he had on others. Whenever he represented the Broncos in the annual NFL Draft, others immediately tried to greet him, and his real excitement about being with fellow legendary fellows, and his pride and passion for the Broncos were unmistakable “

Pro Football Hall of Fame President and COE David Baker announced that the Canton Hall of Fame flag will be hoisted on half of the staff in Floyd’s memory

Little grew up on the New Haven, Connecticut projects and had little reason to believe that he could reach the heights he eventually reached. Other than the flexed legs, he was not extraordinarily tall or fast for an athlete or strong In the classroom he also fought

In his 2010 launch speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he talked about how “the path has not always been so simple and clear” and how he became an “angry young man” who turned to him its accustomed disadvantage, eventually being thrown out of Hillhouse High School in New Haven

He was at a crossroads in his life, but with the help of “those who saw good in me,” he wrote to himself at the behest of the BMI headmaster Dr at Bordentown Military Institute, New Jersey, a Harold Morrison Smith who wanted to incorporate the mostly all-white private military prep school Little prospered at the BMI, where he became a senior class president and the nation’s most sought-after halfback recruit

He had a total of 47 scholarship offers, including from all the top schools at the time, but three interested him the most: Notre Dame, Army, and Syracuse

In 1963 the Irish sold him as part of an up-and-coming football program and their Heisman candidate (and eventual winner), quarterback John Huarte, sent West Point their greatest weapon, Gen Douglas MacArthur, who assured him that he could be the first African American to be promoted to general through his commitment to the Service Academy

Syracuse? The Orangemen had an ace of their own: Ernie Davis, who became the first African American player to win the Heisman in 1961. Unlike MacArthur, who met Little in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, Davis visited Little in his apartment on the third floor New Haven projects

“He was well dressed, he was very articulate and he was sharp,” Little recalled in a 2008 interview. “He was sitting on the couch between my mother and sister and saying, ‘What’s going on?’ and put his arms around her. He had just won the Heisman, just signed the contract with Cleveland, and just signed a deal with Pepsi. And there he was at my house in the New Haven, Connecticut ghetto, talking to me about going to Syracuse go and what it did for him My mother and sisters could only say if they could produce someone like this you would have no alternative where to go “

The two eventually went to dinner, where Davis pitched in the bathroom of the restaurant. When they were done, there was little doubt where the coveted halfback was going, and Little promised Davis that he would visit Syracuse

Davis died of leukemia at the age of 23, three months after visiting Little, who was played by the late actor Chadwick Boseman in “The Express,” a film about Davis’ short but impactful life. Little kept his promise and signed with Syracuse

Little followed on the careers of Jim Brown and Davis in Syracuse and even wore the famous No. 44, which adorned both legendary Orangemen and he didn’t do it badly.Over three years (1964 to 1966) he finished fifth twice in the Heisman race and three times All-American His 2nd704 career miles in Syracuse surpassed both Brown and Davis and are still the sixth highest ever in school

In the 1967 NFL draft – the first joint draft with the AFL – Denver picked out sixth overall. Two years earlier, the Broncos nearly left Denver, but a local owner group stepped in to join the team in Mile High City Hold Little – the first rookie to ever captain an NFL team, nicknamed “The Franchise” – became the Broncos’ first true superstar His success on the field and his willingness to provide financial support to expand the team’s stadium Gathering the NFL standards went a long way towards keeping the team in Denver

“He was a perfect match for the other two opponents from Syracuse,” said Gil Brandt, who was the Dallas Cowboys’ director of staff during Little’s time in Denver. “He didn’t get the notoriety that Jim Brown and Ernie Davis ( in the NFL) because he played in Denver. He was a beacon for some very poor teams “

In his nine-year career with the Broncos that ended in 1975 – two years before Denver reached its first Super Bowl – Little only played on two winning teams and never sniffed the playoffs It wasn’t for lack of effort on his part

He made five Pro Bowl appearances and rushed for 6 in his career323 yards, which at the time of his retirement was No. 1 was 7 on the NFL’s all-time list.He was one of the most versatile players in the league who knew just as much about kickoff return and reception as he was about running the ball

The Broncos used him as an insider even though he was only 195 pounds, but his strong leg drive and balance were too much for the defenders

“He was short, he was neither the fastest nor the strongest, but his vision and his balance were superior,” said Brandt

Ironically, Little often attributed his bowed legs to being able to maintain his balance after a hit. He said he would abandon the tackles because his broad stance made it difficult for defenders to wrap themselves up and put both arms around his legs

He has overcome a lot in his 78 years, often turning negatives into positives. His early problems in school didn’t stop him from graduating from Denver University with a law degree or becoming a successful businessman in 1975 and when he was last May Receiving the bad news from his oncologist, he vowed to conquer the cancer in his body; in June it looked like he was going to win the race, but it got him from behind in the same month that his friend Joe Biden (they were visiting Syracuse at the same time) won the presidency

“I’m here today because of those who encouraged me in those early years,” Little said in his Hall of Fame speech a decade ago. “So I want to encourage you, every student, every athlete, everyone Person who hears my voice does not listen to the naysayer I had a lot of them Do not listen to those who judge you for your rough edges Do not focus on your weakness so that you do not become a victim Find the goodness in you that says : Yes I can be a good student Yes I can be a good son and daughter Yes I can be a positive role model Yes I can because the good in you is better than the worst in most of it your decision be the best you can be “

The New York Jets are expected to part ways with coach Adam Gase after Sunday’s final against the New England Patriots

The Jaguars haven’t made a final decision on coach Doug Marrone’s future, but he’s likely to be replaced against the Colts in the days following Sunday’s final – and they are expected to make at least one possible big run Name replacement in Urban Meyer, reports NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport

All indications are that Doug Pederson will continue to coach the Philadelphia Eagles after the end of the season on Sunday, reports Ian Rapoport, an insider for the NFL network

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Floyd Little

World news – USA – Hall of Fame declines, Bronco’s great Floyd Little is dead at 78

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