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Chiefs History: Remembering Joe Delaney on the anniversary of his death revealing the tragic moment Kansas City running back died while trying to save three children from drowning.

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Chiefs History: Remembering Joe Delaney on the anniversary of his death revealing the tragic moment Kansas City running back died while trying to save three children from drowning.

 

The Kansas City Chiefs selected running back Joe Delaney out of Louisiana’s Northwestern State in the second round (41st overall) in the 1981 NFL Draft.

 

Chiefs History: Remembering Joe Delaney on the anniversary of his death revealing the tragic moment Kansas City running back died while trying to save three children from drowning.

During a time when the team wasn’t very good, Delaney was a shining star in Kansas City. During his rookie season, he ran for 1,121 yards (and three touchdowns) on 234 attempts, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He also collected 246 yards on 22 catches.

Following the strike-shortened 1982 season, Delaney was back home in Louisiana. While visiting an amusement park with some friends in Monroe on June 29, Delaney drowned while trying to save three children in a nearby pond.

Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford told the story in a 1983 article:

There was a huge hole there, carved out of the earth some time ago. The hole had filled with water, and three boys waded in. They didn’t know it, but a short way out the bottom dropped off precipitously, and suddenly the boys were in over their heads and thrashing and screaming. There were all sorts of people around, but only Joe dashed to the pond. There was a little boy there. “Can you swim?” he asked Joe.

”I can’t swim good,” Joe said, “but I’ve got to save those kids. If I don’t come up, get somebody.” And he rushed into the water.

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