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Mile High Morning: Broncos send game ball to Floyd Little after win over Miami


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On Saturday, Floyd Little's former Syracuse teammate Patrick Killorin shared the sad news that Little, who is battling cancer, had entered hospice care.

"Today we are going to talk about a new stage in Floyd's journey. ... Hospice," Killorin wrote in an update on Facebook. "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."

After hearing the news, Head Coach Vic Fangio and the Broncos decided to dedicate their win in part to Little. After the game, Fangio spoke to the team about Little's impact and told them they would be sending a game ball to him.

"We talked about him, one of the all-time greats in Broncos history," Fangio said. "Number 44, I remember him as a kid growing up, I was an Eagles fan growing up but from afar, I was a Floyd Little fan too. We did get him [a game ball] and we are going to get it sent to him."

Little's impact on the Broncos is easily summarized by his nickname, "The Franchise." Drafted by the Broncos in 1967, Little was a dazzling running back who helped take the team from a rather dismal reputation to relevance on the national level. When he retired, he was seventh in rushing yards in pro football history, and his status as the franchise's all-time leading rusher would stand for nearly 30 years.

On Sunday, 9NEWS' Mike Klis spoke with one of his former teammates, linebacker Randy Gradishar, who was at the Broncos' game against Miami.

"He was the old guy, I was the new guy and during practice and the games is where his leadership came out," Gradishar told Klis. "I remember him walking by and encouraging the defense. He was that mainstay. The statistics, that's all great as a Hall of Fame football player, but Floyd as a human being was in the same kind of category. Friendly. I don't remember him at practice hollering at anybody. He was always encouraging. So he was a very good football player but also a very good human being, too. I'm sorry to hear this of Floyd."

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The Broncos' record obviously leaves much to be desired, but Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer wonders if Fangio is not getting enough credit for the good work he's done, especially with injuries to key players like Von Miller. "Add all that to the general trickiness that COVID-19 is forcing every team to deal with, and the fact that the Broncos have gone 4–3 after an 0–3 start is really remarkable to me," Breer wrote.

In a day-after review of the Broncos' performance, The Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran put a spotlight on the pass rush's big day. "Unsung defensive linemen: DeShawn Williams had two sacks, Dre'Mont Jones one sack and DeMarcus Walker a half-sack," O'Halloran wrote. "Back in Week 1, Jones played 38 snaps, but Walker only 17 and Williams was on the practice squad."

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