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Biden, Boeheim mourn 'friend,' late Broncos legend Floyd Little

Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Floyd Little died Friday after a battle with cancer. Photo by U.S. Army/Wikimedia Commons
Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Floyd Little died Friday after a battle with cancer. Photo by U.S. Army/Wikimedia Commons

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- President-elect Joe Biden and longtime Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim were among those to remember Denver Broncos legend Floyd Little on social media.

Little died Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 78.

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The Broncos honored the Pro Football Hall of Fame running back with a moment of silence before their game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday in Denver. Broncos players and coaches also wore a sticker with Little's No. 44 on their helmets and hats.

"Floyd Little was a true hero of the game," Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker said Saturday. "He was a man of great integrity, passion and courage.

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"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."

Gen. Douglas MacArthur recruited Little to play football at West Point before Little chose to attend Syracuse. He went on to become a three-time All-American with the Orangemen before he joined the Broncos as the No. 6 overall pick in the 1967 NFL Draft.

He attended Syracuse at the same time as Biden and Boeheim. The trio later became friends.

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"He was full of character, decency, and integrity," Biden said Saturday in a statement. "He was always gracious with his time with fans -- parents and grandparents who wanted to introduce their children and grandchildren to a genuine role model. I was one of them.

"My family got to know Floyd. We'd call each other after Syracuse games and to check in on one another. I remember our call when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the joy in his voice. And I remember the more recent call when he shared his cancer diagnosis, and how fearless he was in his conviction to fight it.

"As with everything else he did in life, Floyd lived to the very end with grit and heart, and love for his family and faith in God."

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Little was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and led the NFL with 1,133 rushing yards and 1,388 yards from scrimmage in 1971. He also was an All-Pro during his 1969 campaign. He spent his entire nine-year NFL tenure with the Broncos before he retired in 1975.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. Little later served as a the special assistant to the athletic director at Syracuse from 2011 to 2016.

Little ranked No. 7 on the league's all-time rushing list at the time of his retirement and now ranks No. 80. He is survived by wife, Deborahm, son Marc and daughters Christy and Kyra.

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