Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Joe Delaney was memorialized this weekend at the Louisiana park where he gave his life trying to save three children from drowning in 1983.
Monday marks the 37th anniversary of the death of Delaney, who wore No. 37 during his two seasons with the Chiefs in 1981 and 1982. He died on June 29, 1983.
Although he didn't know how to swim, the 24-year-old Delaney jumped into a pond at Chennault Park in Monroe, La., in an attempt to rescue the children. Delaney and two of the kids drowned.
"He didn't worry about himself, he just worried about making the people around him happy. That's just the type of person Joe was," his wife, Carolyn Delaney, told KARD-TV on Saturday at a monument dedication ceremony in the park.
"Right now, I am just so overwhelmed," she said. "I mean it just makes me feel so proud of Joe and the person he was. I just can't explain how happy I am today."
A Pro Bowl selection and 1,000-yard rusher as a rookie, Delaney tallied 1,501 rushing yards and three touchdowns and added 33 catches for 299 yards in 23 career games. The Chiefs drafted him in the second round in 1981 out of Northwestern State, where he was a two-time All-American.
President Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded Delaney the Presidential Citizen's Medal. No player for the Chiefs has worn No. 37 since Delaney's death.
--Field Level Media