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Remembering Chiefs RB, Hero, Joe Delaney

Posted Jun 30, 2014

We will always remember #37

You may have never heard of him, considering he only played two seasons in the NFL, but Chiefs fans can never forget him. Joe Delaney was a Chiefs running back, a second round pick in 1981 and set franchise records for the team.

Sunday was the 31st anniversary of Delaney’s tragic death.

In 1983, three young boys were swimming in a pond in Monroe, LA. They began to swim further from the shore, but soon found that it was too deep to reach the bottom. As the boys began screaming for help, Delaney took action.

As recalled by Frank Deford, then of Sports Illustrated, there was a young boy who asked Joe, “Can you swim?” 

“I can’t swim good,” Joe said, “but I’ve got to save those kids. If I don’t come up, get somebody.”

He was able to save one of the boys, the two others, along with Delaney, drowned.

Delaney was only 24-years old, with a wife and three young girls.

In his rookie season, Delaney rushed for 1,121 yards with three touchdowns and earned Pro Bowl honors. During the strike-shortened 1982 season, Delaney rushed for 380 yards in eight games.

Chiefs fans will always remember #37 and his impact in Kansas City, his accomplishments on the field and his sacrifice for others.

Watch the incredible story on Joe Delaney, a man who gave up a promising football career to save the lives of three strangers.

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