Hall of Fame safety and long-time Arizona Cardinals executive Larry Wilson has died at age 82.
The Cardinals announced Friday that Wilson died Thursday night.
“Larry Wilson was the kindest, most humble person that I will ever know," his wife of 40 years, Nancy, said. "To most, he was this ferocious and fierce football player who some described as pound-for-pound the toughest player of his generation. To me, he was the most generous and gentle soul you would ever meet. For Larry, it was always about everyone else and what he could do for them. And especially in the times we live, that’s something that we could use more of today.”
Wilson was drafted in the seventh round in 1960, and was considered, according to the Cardinals, to be "the best defensive player – and, until Larry Fitzgerald arrived, arguably the best player period – to ever play for the Cardinals."
His player number, 8, is one of a handful of numbers that have been retired by the franchise. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
He played for 13 seasons and went on to serve three decades within the franchise after playing.
Wilson was part of the coaching staff, served as interim head coach, was general manager and vice president of the club until retiring in 2003.