Denver Broncos Legend Otis Armstrong Dies at 70

by Quentin Blount
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A Denver Broncos great is no longer with us. Former Broncos running back Otis Armstrong passed away on Wednesday at 70-years-old.

If you are a longtime football fan then perhaps you may remember Otis Armstrong. He was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft. He played for a total of eight seasons for the Broncos from 1973-1980. To this very day, Armstrong ranks fourth in franchise history for both rushing attempts (1023) and rushing yards (4453). He sits just behind all-time Bronco greats like Terrell Davis, Floyd Little, and Sammy Winder.

As a matter of fact, Armstrong and Floyd Little are widely considered to be the two greatest running backs in the Denver Broncos’ first two decades of the franchise. Unfortunately, Little passed away back on January 1 at the age of 78. So, that means the storied franchise has lost two of their greatest running backs ever in the span of less than a year.

But there was a reason why Otis Armstrong was the Broncos’ first-round pick in 1973. Prior to his NFL success, he was a college star at Purdue University. He still remains the school’s all-time leader in rushing attempts. Purdue inducted Armstrong into its Hall of Fame in 1997 and in 2012, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He’s also been inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, and the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.

Former Denver Broncos Players Respond to Death of Otis Armstrong

Denver Broncos alumni got the news of Armstrong’s passing in an email on Friday morning. The team confirmed his death in a statement, noting that he was surrounded by family and loved ones when he died.

Haven Moses was the Bronco’s top wide receiver in the 1970s. That also means that he was teammates for years with Armstrong. He told Denver 9 News just how much his late teammate meant to him and everybody else in the locker room.

“It’s a very sad day,” Moses explained. “Otis was a very special person. We had a very close team. Otis was a wonderful teammate, a wonderful running back. He’ll definitely be missed. He was part of a Bronco era that laid the foundation for the team’s success today.”

Like Moses, Marv Montgomery was also a teammate of Otis Armstrong. He was an offensive tackle for the Broncos from 1971-1976. What will always stick out most to him about Armstrong is his unique style of running.

“I was thinking back to 1973 when Otis came to camp in his first year,” Montgomery said. “I always remember how he ran. He was always on his toes. It was like a butterfly moving through the line. He had a very interesting way of running.”

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