DENVER — Otis Armstrong, who starred as a halfback at Purdue from 1970-72 and helped lead the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl, died on Wednesday, Oct. 13, surrounded by family and loved ones, according to the Broncos. He was 70 years old.
Armstrong was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and selected to the NFL's Pro Bowl twice.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Otis Armstrong," said National Football Foundation Chairman Archie Manning. "Everyone knows about the history of Purdue running backs, and Otis Armstrong stacks up with the best of them in West Lafayette and for that matter the entire nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time of loss."
A Chicago native, Armstrong left Purdue after the 1972 season as the reigning Big Ten Most Valuable Player and the league's all-time rushing leader at the time.
The eighth-place finisher in 1972 Heisman Trophy voting and a consensus All-American, Armstrong's 3,315 career rushing yards set school and conference records and placed him sixth in NCAA history by the end of his career. His 670 career carries remain a school record, averaging nearly five yards per carry. Armstrong led the Big Ten in rushing as a senior, and his 276-yard effort against Indiana remains a school record.
The Broncos chose Armstrong with their first round pick in the 1973 NFL Draft, and he played eight seasons with Denver, leading the NFL in rushing in 1974 and earning First Team All-Pro honors and helping the Broncos to Super Bowl XII. In a 14-game season, Armstrong rushed for 1,407 yards.
In lieu of flowers, Armstrong's family has asked that donations go to the Otis Armstrong Scholarship Fund. To donate, text GIVE to 312-809-5226.