CANTON, Ohio (WJW) – Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Cleveland Brown‘s quarterback Len Dawson has passed away.
The Alliance, Ohio native was 87.
Dawson was best known for leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl title in 1970 and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
Here in Ohio, the Stark County legend holds many records and grew up in Alliance.
Dawson spent years in the broadcast booth, both locally and nationally, including HBO’s “Inside the NFL.”
Dawson’s family says he entered hospice care earlier this month.
Hall of Fame President Jim Porter released the following statement:
“Len grew up only a few miles from where the Pro Football Hall of Fame later was built, and fans in the area have always taken a special pride in seeing one of the greats from this region enshrined in Canton. Fans connected with Len’s story of perseverance, appreciating how he gave the game one more try after five nondescript seasons when many others would have quit.”
Dawson first stepped into professional football as a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but appeared in only 19 games over three seasons. He then spent two more seasons in Cleveland and according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame “produced no sign of his eventual stardom in the pros.”
It was in 1962 that his career took off. Alongside former college coach Hank Stram, he led the Dallas Texans to the AFL title and eventually the Kansas City Chiefs to Super Bowl I and Super Bowl IV.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame said he finished his 19-year pro career with 28,711 passing yards and 239 touchdowns in regular season games.
He was named the NFL’s Man of the Year in 1973.
FOX 8‘s sister station WDAF spoke with his son, Len Dawson Jr., who confirmed the news.
The family released this statement: “With wife Linda at his side, it is with much sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Len Dawson. He was a wonderful husband, father, brother and friend. Len was always grateful and many times overwhelmed by the countless bonds he made during his football and broadcast careers.
The flag at the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be flown at half-staff in his honor.”