OL / G
Class of 1993
NFLPA AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year Awards
"All I’m interested in is knocking people off their feet and making them respect me."
Larry Little, unlike many highly touted Miami Dolphins stars of the 1970s, began his career in 1967 as an unheralded free agent with the San Diego Chargers. Larry, who had been a two-way tackle, team captain and an All-Conference choice at Bethune-Cookman College, enjoyed only moderate success during his two years in San Diego.
Just before the 1969 campaign, however, he was traded to the Dolphins, and it wasn't long before the 6-1, 265-pound guard was being praised as one of the National Football League’s premier offensive linemen. A fixture at right guard during the 1970s when the Dolphins were a dominant team in pro football, Little was the embodiment of the intimidating force of the famed Miami rushing attack.
A superb pass blocker, awesome on the scrimmage line and especially effective as the lead man on the powerful Dolphin sweeps, Little was named first-team All-NFL from 1971 through 1975 and again in 1977. He also was named second-team All-NFL in 1978 and All-AFC five times. Larry was selected to play in five Pro Bowls (1970, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975). He was named the NFL Players Association's AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1970, 1971 and 1972.
When Miami rushed for a then-record 2,960 yards in its perfect 1972 season, Little was tabbed by one prestigious selection panel as the NFL's outstanding blocker. Little displayed versatility, durability and dedication throughout his career.
Coach Don Shula called him "a real inspiration, not just for the way he performs but also for his influence on our younger players." In one emergency situation, brought about by injuries, Little shifted to the unfamiliar right tackle spot with little effect on his quality of play. Even though he was plagued by knee, ankle and leg injuries through much of his career, he sat out only four games because of injuries in his first 11 seasons with the Dolphins.
1971 AFC – Miami Dolphins 21, Baltimore 0
Started at right guard.
1972 AFC – Miami Dolphins 21, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
Started at right guard.
1973 AFC – Miami Dolphins 27, Oakland Raiders 10
Started at right guard.
Super Bowl VI – Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3
Started at right guard.
Super Bowl VII – Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7.
Started at right guard.
Super Bowl VIII – Miami Dolphins 24, Minnesota Vikings 7
Started at right guard.
All-NFL: 1971 (AP, PFWA, PW), 1972 (AP, PFWA, NEA, PW), 1973 (AP, PFWA, NEA, PW), 1974 (AP, PFWA), 1975 (AP, PFWA, PW), 1977 (PFWA)
All-NFL Second Team: 1975 (NEA), 1977 (AP), 1978 (AP, NEA)
All-AFC: 1971 (AP, UPI, SN, PW), 1972 (AP, UP, SN, PW), 1973 (AP, UPI, SN, PW),1974 (AP, UPI, SN), 1975 (AP, UPI, PW)
All-AFC Second Team: 1977 (UPI), 1978 (UPI)
(5) – 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975
|Awards and Honors|
• 1970’s All-Decade Team
• 1970 NFLPA AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year
• 1971 NFLPA AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year
• 1972 NFLPA AFC Offensive Lineman of the Year
|Year-by-Year Team Records|
|1967||San Diego Chargers||8||5||1||(3rd)|
|1968||San Diego Chargers||9||5||0||(3rd)|
Full name: Larry Chatmon Little
Birthdate: November 2, 1945
Birthplace: Groveland, Georgia
High School: Booker T. Washington (Miami, Fla.)
Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 31, 1993
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: July 31, 1993
Presenter: Don Shula, Little's Hall of Fame coach with the Miami Dolphins
Other Members of the Class of 1993: Dan Fouts, Chuck Noll, Walter Payton, Bill Walsh
Pro Career: 14 Seasons, 183 Games
Drafted: Little was not drafted.
Transactions: 1967 - signed as a free agent with San Diego Chargers. July 2, 1969 – Little was traded from San Diego Chargers to Miami Dolphins in exchange for CB Mack Lamb.
Uniform Number: #66. He also wore #73 during his two seasons with the Chargers.
Larry Little Enshrinement Speech 1993
Presenter: Don Shula
Thank you. First of all, I would like to extend my congratulations to the other inductees today. Seeing Dan Fouts here reminds me of his great performance against us in the 1981 AFC playoff game that the Hall of Fame voted as the best game of the 1980s. Walter Payton, one of the greatest running backs I have ever seen play. I would especially like to congratulate my two former coaching colleagues here today. Bill Walsh and my former assistant during my tenure in Baltimore, Chuck Noll. Listen to this: Between the two of them, they are 7-0 in Super Bowls -- Chuck Noll, 4-0, Bill Walsh, 3-0 -- and no one knows better than I do what a tough accomplishment that is. All four individuals, without a doubt, are worthy individuals into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
No one was more misnamed than Larry Little, who was a giant. He wasn't little; he was a giant in his profession and the first right guard and only the third guard overall to be voted into the Hall of Fame. He has received an honor that he richly deserves.
Larry was a key member to our back-to-back world championship teams that went 32-2, including the 17-0 perfect season of 1972. Four members of those teams are already in the Hall of Fame, and it is only fitting that Larry joins them because he played a major role in their success. Bob Griese, who is here, had a great career as our quarterback, and for more than a decade it was Larry Little who helped protect him. Larry Csonka, who is here, was a thousand-yard rusher in those years, and it was Larry Little who opened many of those holes for "Csonk" to run through. Paul Warfield got a lot of passes in a Dolphins uniform, and it was Larry Little who helped give him the time to get open, and Jim Langer had to feel pretty good when he looked to his right and saw Larry Little lining up alongside of him.
Larry's outstanding play as an offensive guard goes beyond those visible examples. From a much brighter prospective, Larry helped define the way the position is played today. As one of the bigger and stronger linemen of the league, he dominated defensive linemen, becoming one of the best pass blockers in the NFL. But his contribution to the Dolphin running game was really what made his mark. Besides his size, he was asked to pull out to lead sweeps, a responsibility previously reserved for much lighter guards. Without question, a lot of defensive backs were used to taking on smaller guards and saw Larry corning at them, and that shook them up. He had a great knack of using his speed and agility in addition to his strength to simply move him out of the play. As a former defensive back myself, I know I wouldn't want to see Larry coming at me at full speed. After a while, defensive backs tried to run around Larry rather than take him on, and it gave our backs like Csonka, Mercury Morris and Jim Kiick even more room to run.
And it was no coincidence that in 1972 during the perfect season, the Dolphins set an NFL team record with most yards rushing. In fact, the Dolphin average of 2,372 yards rushing per season in the 1970s was the highest figure in the league for that decade, and during that time Larry was universally recognized for his greatness. He earned All-Pro honors six times; he was a Pro Bowl selection four times and he was the first player in the league to be AFC's Offensive Lineman of the Year in three straight seasons by the NFL's Player's Association. Listen to this: He originally signed and joined the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent for a $750 bonus. That is worth than the deal where they purchased Manhattan for $24.
Two years later, he was traded to the Dolphins, where he truly began his Hall of Fame career. But there was more to Larry Little than his great athletic ability. As big as Larry was physically, his heart was even bigger. Larry was a winner who didn't know what it meant to get out or get beat. He helped define that sense of pride that surrounded those great teams. He was willing to do whatever was necessary to help the team win. He learned how to discipline himself. He went from 290 pounds to 265, where we wanted him, and he exerted the same quiet discipline on his teammates, who respected him as one of their leaders. There was a presence about him that was unmistakable. When Larry Little spoke, both teammates and coaches alike made sure to listen at what he had to say.
Playing in Miami allowed Larry to give back a lot to his community. He created the Gold Coast Summer Camp for underprivileged kids in 1970. The program was eventually backed by United Way. He was listed in Who’s Who in Black America. He was a local product who made good. Growing up near the shadow of the Orange Bowl and when he finally made it as a player on the field, he cast a shadow of his own that symbolized the desire and determination of the great Dolphin teams. It was an honor to coach a player with a heart, intensity and the will to win that Larry showed during his Dolphin career.
And it is with great pleasure that I present him for induction into the Professional Football Hall of Fame. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Coach Shula. First of all, I would like to give honor to God for giving me the ability to play this game and for helping me play 22 years out of my life without a serious injury. I accept this honor for my former players at Bethune-Cookman College, my former players and administrators of Ohio Glory in the World League and my present players of North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C.
What comes to mind today is how honored I am to be a part of this elite and extraordinary group of athletes, coaches and administrators. Remember sitting all those Saturdays and watching these programs or inductions and visualizing me being up here one day making my Hall of Fame speech. It is rewarding for the way I came into the league. It is especially rewarding because I wasn't drafted, receiving a $750 bonus. Just being in the league and getting the opportunity to play was quite an honor, so I didn't care how much money I made, I just wanted to have an opportunity.
Football prepared me for so many things in life. How to deal with the peaks and valleys, the bitter with the sweet, self-motivation and believing in myself and working with others. When I first went out for football at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, I was in the ninth grade and only 13 years old. I know I probably would have been voted the most unlikely to succeed. I was so bad, I didn't get equipment until the season started. But I was only a ninth-grader. And I had a friend of mine named Joe Walker, who was a blind deejay in Atlanta, Ga., who made a statement at the end of the show every week: ''A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins." And I took that along with me, because I knew I was going to be a winner. It was always my lifetime ambition to play professional football, and most of all I would like to thank my mom sitting right there, Ida, for always being there for me through thick and thin. Raised me to be the kind of person I am today. I want to thank my wife, Rosie, for being there through the aches and the pains and especially the good times that we shared. I would like to thank my sisters, Connie, Linda, Joy and Betty, for being there for me. And also, my brother David, who could not be here today because he is in Barcelona in Spain with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I want to thank my high school coaches, James Everett, Al Conhepber, James Smitz, Robert Wilcox, Ralph Burnes, Cleveland Popes and Cecil Harris, who had so much to do with my development as a young man trying to learn how to play this football game. And for my teammates who would help me after practice and try to make me do better and the teachers who helped me realize early the value of an education. I want to thank my college coaches, Jack McClarin and Lloyd ''Tank'' Johnson, who recruited me out of high school and gave me a chance to continue to my education and gave me an opportunity to reach my goal. I can't say enough about Tank Johnson. He was there for me as a player, and he has been a good friend to me all my life, and he is the one who has gotten me into the coaching profession I am in today.
I want to thank my first professional head coach, Sid Gillman, who is in the Hall of Fame. I want to thank him for giving me an opportunity to play and for trading me to Miami. I want to thank the line coaches Joe Madro in San Diego, Ernie Heffley in Miami and Monte Clark.
Monte Clark, I know you are out here today, but you gave not only me but our whole offensive line the kind of pride to be the best in the business, and we were the best offensive line who ever played together because of Monte Clark. I want to thank John Sandusky, who took over later in my career, who kept me believing in myself and to help me be who I am today. And very special thanks to you, Coach Shula, for having the foresight to see me at the weight I was, to help me move this weight to be the kind of person I am today and the great football player I was when I retired. And you motivated me to be the best that I could be.
I would like to give a special thanks to my teammates in Miami, especially the offensive line again and Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Jim Langer, Bob Kuechenberg, Wayne Moore and Norm Evans. And he told me I better mention his name: Eugene "Mercury" Morris. And there are some people here today that are not here physically, but I know they are here spiritually, and they are looking down on me and just smiling. They are my father, George; my other brother, George; my roommate for so many years in Miami who was on the offensive line, Wayne Moore; and my grandparents, Esmial and Elizabeth Haines, who were very close to me; and everybody that has pushed me along the way. If I have forgot you, I'm sorry. But thank you, and this will be one moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Thank you very much.