Larry Grantham, a defensive standout on the New York Jets' Super Bowl III championship team, has died, the team announced Sunday night. He was 78.
Grantham played outside linebacker and was an original member of the New York Titans, who became the Jets in 1963 after three seasons. His 43 career takeaways remain a franchise record.
Grantham called the defensive signals in the Jets' 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl in January 1969.
A funeral service for Grantham will be held Wednesday in his hometown of Crystal Springs, Miss.
Grantham, who was an undersized 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker, was a five-time AFL All-Star during his 13 years with the team and was inducted into the Jets' Ring of Honor in 2011.
"I had 13 wonderful years in New York, even with the Titans," Grantham said in 2011 before he entered the Ring of Honor. "Sometimes we didn't get paid, but we had great times, and Sammy Baugh was one of the greatest coaches I ever played for. They're all outstanding memories for me. I still get excited when I get fan mail. People have been awful good to me in New York."
Grantham, who also was a member of the University of Mississippi's "All-Century Team" in 1959, was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 15th round of the 1960 NFL Draft. But he spurned the NFL to play for New York, which made him one of their 32 "first selections" in the fledgling American Football League's first draft.