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Mile High Morning: 'The Franchise' Floyd Little diagnosed with cancer, per former Syracuse teammate 


The Lead

Hall of Fame and Broncos Ring of Fame running back Floyd Little is battling cancer, one of his former college teammates told

That former teammate, Pat Killorin, also set up a GoFundMe page for Little with the Little family's blessing.

"We believe the last thing we want our friend Floyd to do is worry about this expense or to give up in order to avoid it," Killorin wrote. "We don't believe Floyd should have to make these kinds of choices when his focus must be on becoming the next cancer survivor we all celebrate."

Little also had a prolific college career at Syracuse that landed him in the College Football Hall of Fame. During his three years with the Orange, Little recorded All-America team selections from several media outlets each year from 1964-66.

Also known as "The Franchise" among Broncos fans, Little became the Broncos' first first-round pick to sign with the team. In nine years in Denver, Little earned five Pro Bowl selections and one first-team All-Pro nod. He was the leading rusher in the NFL in 1971 and scored the most rushing touchdowns in 1973.

Little was one of the four original inductees into the Ring of Fame in 1984 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. His No. 44 jersey number is one of three retired by the team.

Even though almost 50 years have passed since Little's last game as a Bronco, he still remains one of Broncos Country's favorite players, and he can be certain that everyone is supporting him in his fight.

Below the Fold

As protests have spread across the country following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Justin Simmons — the Broncos' 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee — is using his platform to try to affect change in his hometown in Florida. "Football is something I do, it's not who I am," Simmons told The Athletic's Nicki Jhabvala. "And just because I'm a part of that profession, I don't think it entitles me to speak, so a lot of times I won't do stuff like that. But this hit so close to home because for so long it's been miserable time and time again for the black community with the systemic oppression and the injustices."

The Broncos' tight-end position group may be one of their deepest. Though Noah Fant will likely take up the mantle as the starter in his second season, there will be a competition behind him. One person not to forget in that group is Jake Butt, who has recovered from last year's season-ending knee injury. "My knee's good," he told Ryan O'Halloran of The Denver Post. "Doing everything running and lifting. This offseason has been a little bit weird for everybody, having to bounce around and train anywhere you can, but I've still been getting good work in, feel good about things and excited about playing ball again."

ESPN's Jeff Legwold broke down which four position groups have seen the most upheaval this offseason and what they might look like this year for the Broncos. Naturally, wide receiver was one of the four groups discussed: "Even with what figures to be little on-field work, at best, before any sort of green light is given for training camp, [Jerry] Jeudy will likely be tossed into the lineup as quickly as possible," Legwold wrote. "His route-running precision gives him a chance to overcome the potential lack of organized team activities and minicamp."

Want to relive the first time the Broncos won the Lombardi Trophy? NBCSN will broadcast the Broncos' Super Bowl XXXII on Thursday at 6 p.m. MT.

The Unclassifieds

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