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Remembering Joe Delaney, 39 years later

It’s been 39 years since Joe Delaney died trying to save three children from drowning.

On this day 39 years ago, running back Joe Delaney died trying to save three kids from drowning in Louisiana.

Remember Delaney’s story by watching the Chiefs Kingdom special above made by our friends at Chiefs dot com. The most well-known written piece on the story came via Sports Illustrated’s Franke Deford back in 1983:

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.

One boy fought his way back to the shallow part. The other two didn’t. Neither did Joe Delaney, 24. He was hauled out a few minutes later, dead. He gave his own life trying to save three others.

ESPN produced a “30 for 30” on Delaney, and friend-of-the-site Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star wrote a piece. In 2020, a monument honoring Delaney’s sacrifice was installed in Louisiana.

Delaney’s No. 37 is unofficially retired by the Chiefs, and his name is included in the team’s Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor.

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