Jan 2, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; NFL former running back Floyd Little is honored prior to the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Indiana Hoosiers at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

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Hall of Fame Broncos RB Little dies at 78

Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Floyd Little died on Friday night at the age of 78.

Little, who starred at Syracuse then played nine seasons with the Denver Broncos, reportedly had been battling a rare form of cell cancer.

“Floyd Little was a true hero of the game. 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 meant to have a Hall of Fame life,” Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker said in a statement.

“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.”

His former college teammate, Patrick Killorin, publicly revealed in May that Little had been diagnosed with cancer. He organized a GoFundMe drive for Little and had kept fans updated about the former running back’s condition.

Little was a three-time All-American at Syracuse and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 2010. He also is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

“Floyd Little is a Syracuse treasure,” Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said. “The legacy that he leaves here is so much more than just one who wore No. 44, was an All-American, was in the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“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. … It is a legacy that will last forever and will never be replaced. He is someone who leaves a legacy of pure class in every single respect. There was only one Floyd Little and there will never be another one like him.”

Little played for the Broncos from 1967-75 and was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and first-team All-Pro in 1969. In 1971, when the NFL played 14-game seasons, he led the league with 284 rushes and 1,133 yards, as well as 1,388 yards from scrimmage.

In 117 career games, he gained 8,741 yards from scrimmage and scored 52 touchdowns.

In three seasons at Syracuse (1964-66), he ran for 2,750 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also had 591 receiving yards and four more TDs.

The Broncos selected him No. 6 overall in the 1967 draft.

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