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Finally enshrined, football great Floyd Little at peace

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with NFL and College Football Hall of Famer and Syracuse University special assistant to the athletic director Floyd Little, whose new memoir is Promises to Keep: My Inspired Run from Syracuse to Denver to the Hall.

The word underdog is overused in the context of sports, but when it comes to Little, it’s an apt term. Little was born into poverty, one of six children raised by a single mother in Waterbury, Connecticut who struggled in school and had to keep his burgeoning football talent a secret from his protective and worried mother.

The first time she found out he was a special talent was when he announced his scholarship to play at Syracuse, where the running back became a three-time All-American before embarking on a nine-year career with the Denver Broncos.

The football side of Little’s story might have ended there, since he also graduated from the University of Denver Law School and eventually returned to his alma mater as a special assistant to the athletic director.

But instead, he teamed with the co-author his new memoir, Tom Mackie, who idolized Little as a child and eventually mounted a campaign to get his hero enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Those dreams finally came true in 2010, when the five-time Pro Bowler gained football immortality.

Promises to Keep is published by Triumph.

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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