Floyd Little, a Hall of Fame running back who starred at Syracuse University and later for the Denver Broncos, died from cancer on Jan. 1 at his home in Henderson, Nev. He was 78.
Mr. Little 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.
He was the sixth overall pick in the 1967 AFL-NFL draft and played nine seasons in Denver. As a professional he was a five-time Pro Bowler, led the NFL in rushing yards (1,133) in 1971 and in touchdown runs (12) in 1973. He also was one of the game’s best return men, leading the AFL in punt return average as a rookie in 1967.
Mr. Little had the most all-purpose yards in pro football and ranked second only to O.J. Simpson in rushing yards during the years he was active. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
Floyd Douglas Little was born July 4, 1942, in New Haven, Conn. He was persuaded to attend Syracuse by Ernie Davis, the first Black player to win the Heisman Trophy.
Mr. Little graduated from Syracuse in 1967 and received a master’s degree in legal administration from the University of Denver in 1975. From 2011 to 2016, he returned to Syracuse as a special assistant to the athletic director. Survivors include his wife, DeBorah; and three children.