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It was a sad New Year's weekend for Bronco Country.

Former Denver Bronco great and NFL Hall of Famer Floyd Little passed away on New Year's Day at the age of 78. According to ESPN, Little's cancer diagnosis become public in May and he was moved to hospice care in November.

Floyd Little played 9 seasons with the Broncos in the late 60s and early 70s during a time when the Broncos weren't winning a lot of football games. In fact, the Broncos only had two winning seasons during Little's tenure with the team. But, #44 was always a bright spot on those Bronco teams and helped pave the way to that very first Broncos Super Bowl appearance that would come a short time after his retirement.

I remember watching the Broncos as a kid in the early 70s, and though the Broncos did not do a lot of winning in those days, I became a big football fan right from the start and have been cheering on the Broncos now for nearly 50 years. For years,  my bedroom wall would feature team photos of the Broncos with the likes of Charley Johnson, Otis Armstrong, Riley Odoms, Haven Moses, and Lyle Alzado - just a few of the names that come to mind.

Without a doubt, Floyd Little was a great football player - but he was an even better human being. I don't think I ever fully realized how special he was until I heard his speech at his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. LIttle was a man of faith, a man of high moral character, and was such an inspiration to everyone he encountered.

At his hall of fame enshrinement, LIttle gave us all inspiration and a glimpse into the man so many of us had only witnessed on the football field. He talked about being a "strong, angry man" in his youth and was kicked out of school. It was a dark moment for Floyd, but it changed his life. He was able to re-enroll in school and became president of his class.

Because of those that encouraged me in those early years, I am here today. So I want to encourage you, every student, every athlete, every person who will hear my voice, don't listen to the naysayer. I had plenty of those. Don't listen to those that will judge you for your rough edges. Don't focus on your weakness so you won't become a victim. Find the goodness in you that says, Yes, I can be a good student. Yes, I can be a good son and daughter. Yes, I can be a positive role model. Yes, I can, because the good in you is better than the worst in most. The choice is yours. Be the best that you can be.

I've given you the best that I've got. And I'm a better person for it. Thank you for being here with me and for me. I thank God for His favor today, and may God bless us all. Thank you so much.

 

Bronco Country mourns the death of Floyd LIttle, and we hate to say goodbye. But we celebrate his life, and we are grateful that he will forever be a part of Broncos history.

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