Floyd Little, Legendary Star Running Back for Syracuse and Denver Broncos, Dies at 78 After Cancer Battle

Floyd Little during his time with the Denver Broncos. / Bettmann Archive

Floyd Little, college and professional football Hall of Famer, has died after “nearly a year of confronting, even battling cancer,” his son Marc Little said in a statement Saturday.

The great running back who starred at Syracuse and for the Denver Broncos passed away early evening Friday at home in Las Vegas with his wife, DeBorah Little, by his side, the family said. Little, born in Waterbury, Connecticut, was 78.

He was a three-time All-American at Syracuse, where he wore No. 44 like Jim Brown and Ernie Davis before him. From 1964 to 1966, he ran for 2,704 yards and 46 touchdowns.

“Floyd Little is a Syracuse treasure,” said John Wildhack, athletics director at Syracuse University, in a statement. “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. Floyd’s legacy is that he was a wonderful, wonderful person.”

“It is a legacy that will last forever and will never be replaced,” Wildhack said.

Little was the sixth overall pick in the 1967 AFL-NFL draft. He played nine seasons in Denver, where he earned the nickname “The Franchise” because his signing was credited with keeping the team from relocating and helped persuade voters to approve funds for the old, iconic Mile High Stadium, which has since been replaced by Empower Field at Mile High.

He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Nicole Acevedo

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