Floyd Little signed with the Denver Broncos on May 17, 1967, and that pen-to-paper action set the stage for how this illustrious franchise is viewed more than 50 years later.
Little was a three-time first-team All-American halfback at Syracuse.
And this weekend, 52 years since Little first signed with Denver, he is being honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the university on Friday and an honorary doctorate degree at the commencement ceremonies at the law school on Saturday.
Little long ago received a master's degree from the DU law school, after his "graduation" from pro football at the age of 34.
At that time, he put things into great perspective about life and leadership when he told me, "People have the perspective of post-athletics all wrong. Retirement from pro sports is not the end of anything other than that career. I am just 34 years old. I have all the rest of my life in front of me, and it is up to me to do something with it."
Indeed, his words defined his goals, but his actions said even more.
Little went on to get that master's from DU, work for the Adolph Coors Company, open a successful string of car dealerships on the West Coast and continue to act in every way like the guy who was named team captain of the Broncos in each of his nine seasons.
He was one of the four inaugural inductees into the Ring of Fame when Broncos owner Pat Bowlen created it in 1984, and of course he is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, along with Bowlen, as well.
And still he leads the way.
There is a statue of Little at Syracuse University, his alma mater, which he attended despite being personally recruited to attend West Point by Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Floyd attended Syracuse in large part because he had given his word that he would do so to the great Syracuse player Ernie Davis.
Davis passed away before he could have his own pro career, and to Floyd Little, his word was bond.
Truly, we have never had another like him, a single player carrying the hopes and dreams of a time zone on his back when the Broncos were the first major league team in the Mile High City.
He led by example and left big footprints for all those who would follow.
"You don't just do one thing, then stop, and say you have done enough," he said.
"You keep doing, and maybe what you are doing will change, but hopefully others will observe you and follow along, in their own paths, and all of society is elevated by these actions."
Floyd Little already has an honorary doctorate from Syracuse, and it is so fitting that DU should give such as award to one of its most accomplished and favorite sons.
The sun never sets on the leadership that Floyd provides for generations of youth, Broncos and NFL players in general.
Congrats to The Franchise on continuing to show everyone the way more than 50 years after that great moment for Denver when you first signed that Broncos contract.