Arizona Cardinals Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson passed away at the age of 82 on Thursday night, the team announced in a press release on Friday morning.
Wilson, who was drafted in the seventh round in the 1960 NFL Draft and played with the team when they were known as the St. Louis Cardinals, recorded 52 interceptions in 169 games, spending his entire 13-year career with the club.
He then spent 30 additional years with the Cardinals’ front office after his playing days were over before retiring from the sport in 2003, according to the release.
“He was someone who truly lived his faith and demonstrated it daily in the kindness he showed every single person he met,” Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said in the release, calling the Hall of Famer the most influential male figure in his life aside from his father.
“Any of us lucky enough to be in his orbit – whether that was for a few minutes or four decades – was always better off from the experience.”
“I will remember Larry Wilson first as a fantastic person but then obviously as one of the greatest players the National Football League has ever seen.”
Wilson was first-team All-Pro five times, named to eight Pro Bowls and was announced as part of the NFL’s all-time team last year in honor of the league’s 100th season.
One of the greatest players on the field, and one of the greatest people off of it.
Thank you for everything, Larry. You will be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/uIDtXTmAYF
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) September 18, 2020
He was also the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1966 with ten interceptions that year during the 14-game season.
Wilson was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1978 and is one of only five players who have their number retired by the sport’s oldest franchise.