Floyd Little, who began carrying the football in New Haven, at Hillhouse High, and carried it through turbulent times to Syracuse, to Denver and, ultimately, to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, died Saturday after a battle with cancer.
One of the most storied athletes in Connecticut history, Little was 78.
“I was so fortunate to know Floyd and witnessed firsthand the impact he had on others,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement released by the league.
Little followed Jim Brown and Ernie Davis as Syacuse’s star runner, wearing No. 44. He played nine years in the NFL with the Broncos, rushing for 6,323 yards. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963.
The athletic complex at Hillhouse was named for Little, who was No. 11 on The Courant’s list of greatest Connecticut Athletes of the 20th Century in 1999.