Kansas City Chiefs Legend, Hall of Famer Len Dawson Dead at 87

Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs legendary quarterback who is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died, the team announced. He was 87 years old. Earlier this month, Dawson entered hospice care in Kansas City

"My family and I are heartbroken. Len Dawson is synonymous with the Kansas City Chiefs. Len embraced and came to embody Kansas City and the people that call it home. You would be hard-pressed to find a player who had a bigger impact in shaping the organization as we know it today than Len Dawson did," Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement. "I admired Len my entire life – first as a Hall of Fame player on the field, and later as he transitioned into a successful broadcasting career. Throughout his remarkable career, Len made it a priority to give back to the community that he loved. The franchise has lost a true legend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Linda and his family."

Dawson began his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957. He was with the team for three seasons before joining the Cleveland Browns in 1960. In his two years in Cleveland, Dawson saw limited action, which led to him signing with the Dallas Texans in 1962. He made an impact in his first season in Dallas, throwing for 2,759 yards and 29 touchdowns. The Texans would move to Kansas City to become the Chiefs, and Dawson emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the 1960s. Dawson led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl title and three AFL Championships in that decade. He was named MVP of Super Bowl IV, AFL MVP in 1962, was named to the AFL All-Star game six times and was selected to the All-AFL team four times. 

"With wife Linda at his side, it is with much sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Len Dawson," the family said in a statement, per KMBC News. "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. He loved Kansas City and no matter where his travels took him, he could not wait to return home. Linda wants to acknowledge and thank the wonderful team of doctors, nurses and support staff at KU Med who showed tremendous amounts of love and compassion for Len."

Dawson would play for the Chiefs through the 1975 season. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of fame in 1987 and is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame. Dawson is also known to be a successful broadcaster, hosting HBO's Inside the NFL from 1977 to 2001. He also worked as an analyst for the Chiefs radio broadcast team from 1985 to 2017.