Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse football legend Floyd Little has entered hospice care, his former teammate Patrick Killorin announced on Saturday night.
Killorin shared the information on Facebook, where he has provided periodic updates on Little’s health to teammates and fans since the running back’s bout with cancer became public in May.
Killorin helped organize a Go Fund Me to help Little and his wife, DeBorah, with medical expenses, and Syracuse fans and teammates rallied to his cause, raising more than $100,000.
“Today we are going to talk about a new stage in Floyd’s journey. … Hospice,” Killorin wrote in the update. “Floyd’s courageous battle with a difficult disease (cancer) is now at a critical stage in his life. This is a time when a husband and wife must make important decisions regarding potential end of life decisions.”
Killorin’s update included thoughts about Little’s unique spirt, his kind presence, his unselfishness and a prayer. He ended by writing, “I love you my friend.”
He is not alone.
Little, 78, is one of the most exceptional athletes in Syracuse history, helping bring the No. 44 to prominence, along with Jim Brown and Ernie Davis, whose three statues stand together outside the football team’s practice facility.
Little is a three-time college All-American who went on to a Hall of Fame career as a professional with the Denver Broncos and, in his later years, before the cancer fight, left a second unique mark at the school by returning to Syracuse.
In 2011, Little began a five-year stint where he served as special assistant to athletic director and a beloved ambassador for the football team and athletic department.
One of the school’s greatest football players became the school’s biggest cheerleader. During his return to Syracuse he mentored athletes. He charmed fans, donors and recruits. He supported everything Orange.
Despite playing just three seasons (freshmen were not eligible to play immediately at the time), Little ranks sixth on Syracuse’s all-time career rushing yards list with 2,704 yards. He totaled 46 touchdowns between 1964 and 1966. His 35 rushing touchdowns rank second to Walter Reyes, and his average of 90.1 rushing yards per game ranks behind only Joe Morris and Larry Csonka.
Little was just as exceptional in the pros, where he was the No. 6 overall pick in 1967. He ranked seventh on the NFL’s all-time rushing list when he retired in 1975 and still ranks No. 78 overall in career rushing. He is a member of both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fames, and he has had his number retired by both Syracuse and the Denver Broncos.
“Through your thoughts and contemplation, send your love and prayers for peace to Floyd, DeBorah and family,” wrote Killorin, a former offensive lineman and teammate throughout Little’s SU career. “Let them know they are not alone and that their courage and love in their battle evoke our own, and in that in our prayers, we are one with them in their thoughts, their hearts and their tears.”
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