Remembering Joe Delaney

Posted by Mike Florio on June 29, 2009, 10:04 a.m.
In this age where the off-field coverage of the NFL features subjects like DUI manslaughter and dogfighting and loaded guns toted in the waistband of a pair of sweatpants and shirtless preening receivers on grossly overhyped faux sports shows, it’s nice to remember a true hero.
Chiefs running back Joe Delaney.
The folks at Arrowhead Pride have reminded us that Delaney died 26 years ago today while trying to save three drowning boys.
It didn’t matter to Delaney that he couldn’t swim. He saw that the boys were in trouble, and he acted.
Frank Deford, then of Sports Illustrated, wrote this item about Delaney in 1983. Rick Reilly, then of Sports Illustrated, remembered Delaney six years ago.
Delaney should never be forgotten.
That’s why we recognize every year one running back with an award named for Delaney, who at the time was one of the best young tailbacks in the NFL.
Hopefully, none of us will ever have to make the choice that Delaney did on that day in late June. Hopefully, more than a few of us would be willing to risk everything without thought or hesitation if it meant possibly saving the lives of others.
Hopefully, every NFL player will think about the honor Delaney brought to himself and the league before taking action that would dishonor themselves or the game.
And, hopefully, we’ll remember the date of Delaney’s sacrifice next year — and every year thereafter — without having to be reminded of it.