Floyd Little, the Hall of Fame running back who starred at Syracuse University and the Denver Broncos, passed away on Friday night after a lengthy fight with cancer.
Little’s cancer diagnosis was revealed in June, with a GoFundMe being created to help cover the cost of treatments for his Stage 2 Neuroendocrine tumor. He was moved into hospice care in November, with his condition deteriorating and more medical attention required.
It is the same cancer his father passed away from when Floyd was 6. Unfortunately, on Saturday, Floyd’s son announced that his father had died with family by his side on Jan. 1.
Floyd Little stats and legacy
Floyd Little grew up in Connecticut and quickly became a football star at Bordentown Military Institute in New Jersey. He caught the attention of college coaches from across the country, receiving offers from Notre Dame and military academies. However, Little decided to play at Syracuse.
Following in the footsteps of Ernie Davis, the first African-American Heisman Trophy winner, Little became the next iconic running back for the program. He wore the No. 44, also worn by Davis and Jim Brown. In three seasons at Syracuse (1964-’66), Little rushed for 2,750 yards with 39 total touchdowns. He was a first-team All-American in each of the three seasons he played.
Little was drafted by the Denver Broncos with the No. 6 overall pick in the 1967 NFL Draft. Across nine seasons in Denver, he was one of the NFL’s best running backs and helped the team become a contender.
The 5-foot-10 running back earned five Pro Bowl selections and led the NFL in rushing yards (1,133) for the 1971 season. He earned first-team All-Pro honors in 1969, made second-team All-Pro twice (1970-’71) and led the league in rushing touchdowns (12) in 1973.
Following his nine-year career in the NFL, Little retired with 6,323 rushing yards, 2,418 receiving yards and 52 total touchdowns in 117 games. The Broncos retired his No. 44 and put him into the team’s Ring of Fame.
Little was inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Sports world honors Denver Broncos legend Floyd Little
Following word of Floyd Little passing away, tributes poured in from Roger Goodell, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim and the rest of the sports world.