Former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Ken Riley, who also coached at Florida A&M, died on Sunday, the school announced. He was 72 years old. Riley spent his entire NFL career with the Bengals, playing 15 seasons and being named to the All-Pro team three times. He was drafted by the team in the sixth round in 1969 from Florida A&M.
Kortne Gosha, Florida A&M athletic director, released a statement on Riley's death. "FAMU athletics and the entire Rattler Nation is deeply saddened of the passing of former FAMU football player, head coach, athletics director and NFL great Ken Riley," he said via ESPN. "We wish his family our deepest condolences." Along with getting support from his alma mater, the Bengals revealed how important Riley was to the franchise.
Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement: "When he came here, Kenny and Lemar Parrish had never played cornerback, and they're the two best we've ever had. And we've had a lot of good ones. We put him over there for a decade and a half and we didn't have to worry about it. Kenny was quick to the point of the ball as a great interceptor and he was an excellent tackler, even though he wasn't a very big man."
Riley is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he was one of the top defensive players during the 1970s and early 1980s. In his 15-year career, Riley recorded 65 interceptions for 596 yards and five touchdowns, which are all franchise records. He had at least one interception every year in his career. And his final NFL season might be his best, recording eight interceptions and two were returned for touchdowns. He was named to the All-Pro First Team that year while being named to the Second Team in 1975 and 1976.
In 1986, Riley took over as the head coach of Florida A&M. In eight seasons, Riley compiled a 45-40-2 record, winning two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles while being named MEAC Coach on the Year twice. He then went on to be the school's athletic director from 1994-2003. Last season, Riley discussed why he isn't in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "People ask why I'm not in and I say I don't know," he said via Bengals.com. "I'm really embarrassed by it because I've got my high school petitioning. The county commissioners petitioning. I appreciate it, but it's embarrassing. I'm not like that. I guess I just didn't get the exposure."