Memorials

 

Our hearts are not merely broken, but shattered, as yet another senseless tragedy strikes our country. 

 

 

 

IN MEMORY

IN MEMORY

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Miller family and the Denver Broncos family on the passing of former 'Orange Crush' Head Coach Red Miller, September 27, 2017. 

In years past Red had participated in several of our fundraising efforts with NFL Alumni and Pro Players Association. Gary Adler recently shook his hand and spoke with him at Babe Parilli's funeral in July after having not seen him for many years. His friendship and association with our organization will be greatly missed.

Rest In Peace Red.

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Vito "Babe" Parilli: 1930-2017

Parilli, who died Saturday, spent nearly a half-century in college and pro football, including a three-year stint as the Broncos' quarterbacks coach.

Posted Jul 15, 2017 Denver Broncos Football Club

Babe Parilli

The life of Vito "Babe" Parilli in football was unlike any other.

Parilli, who died Saturday at the age of 87, was the quarterbacks coach for the Broncos from 1977-79, working on the staff of one Ring of Famer (head coach Red Miller) while guiding another Ring of Famer (Craig Morton) to some of the best seasons of his career.

Those three years forever connected Parilli to the Broncos and to Denver. But they tell just a small fraction of his story, a journey of nearly 50 years in the sport that saw him cross paths with one legend after another.


After growing up in Rochester, Pennsylvania, Parilli played at Kentucky under perhaps the greatest coach in college football history, Paul "Bear" Bryant. He guided UK to its greatest football success, leading them to wins in the Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl in consecutive seasons. That earned the notice of the NFL and the Green Bay Packers, who drafted Parilli with the No. 4 overall pick in the 1952 NFL Draft.

A whistle-stop, 18-season playing career followed, beginning with two years in Green Bay. It included two separate stints with the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders, and a year with the Cleveland Browns under Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown, when he was a first-hand witness to Brown's early attempts to use a radio receiver in a quarterback's helmet. Parilli returned to Green Bay in 1957, playing two more seasons as a backup behind Bart Starr before he was cut in 1959 by a head coach just getting his feet wet -- Vince Lombardi.

As Parilli told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in 2003, he got the better of Lombardi on the golf course -- but that might have been a mistake.

"We were only playing for a dollar," Parilli said. "But afterwards, he threw the dollar at me and said, 'That's the last dollar you'll ever make from me.' And before the season started, he cut me."

However, that set up the decade that would help define Parilli's legacy: 10 seasons as an American Football League quarterback. After playing for the Rough Riders in 1959, he joined the new league's Oakland Raiders in 1960, then was traded to the Boston Patriots in 1961.


The Patriots gave Parilli the chance he desperately wanted: a full-time starting role with a U.S.-based pro team. He flourished, establishing franchise passing standards that stood for two decades during seven seasons that saw the Patriots go 44-32-7 in his starts. Parilli still ranks fourth in Patriots history in completions, yardage and touchdown passes behind Tom Brady, Steve Grogan and Drew Bledsoe.

In 1968, Parilli joined the New York Jets and earned a Super Bowl ring as Joe Namath's backup quarterback while soaking up knowledge from the Jets' Hall of Fame-bound coach, Weeb Ewbank.

Parilli retired from playing in 1970 and began another adventure as a coach that included his three years under Miller on the Broncos' sideline and a stint as Chuck Noll's quarterbacks coach in Pittsburgh tutoring Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw.

Parilli also coached in three other leagues: the World Football League (as head coach of the New York/Charlotte Stars and the Chicago Winds), the United States Football League (as the Denver Gold's offensive coordinator under Morton) and as the head coach of six different Arena Football League teams, including the Denver Dynamite from 1989-91.

In 1997, Parilli concluded his head-coaching career with the AFL's Florida Bobcats. It was a team that was basically homeless; because of venue and management problems, it played its "home" schedule in places like Boston, Los Angeles and Ottawa, Canada.

Midway through that final season, Parilli's team faced off against a future Pro Football Hall of Famer: Kurt Warner, who was guiding the Iowa Barnstormers. A few months later, Warner would get his NFL shot with the St. Louis Rams, but on that night, Parilli's humble Bobcats stunned the legend's team, 68-55.

It was the sort of wily triumph that was Parilli's specialty. Knocked down so many times, but never out, he was one of the game's true survivors, leaving behind a legacy as unique as the sport itself.

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Pro Players Association would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the family of Bobby Burnett.

Bobby Burnett 1943-2016
Bobby Clell Burnett passed away on Saturday, October 1, 2016. He was born January 4, 1943 in Clinton, Arkansas to Clell and Frances Burnett. He was the oldest of 3 children, with 2 brothers, Tommy and Billy. Bobby married Dorothy Letsch on July 12, 1965 and were happily married for 51 years. They raised 4 children together: Chad, Deana, Randy, and Shane. They also had 12 grandchildren. Bobby was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and had a strong testimony of his Savior, Jesus Christ.
Bobby Burnett graduated from Smackover High School in Smackover, Arkansas. He played tailback for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 1963-65. In 1965, he was selected as All-SWC, led the conference in touchdowns, set a Razorback single season record of 16 touchdowns, received the Charles T. Myers award as his team's Most Valuable Player, led the SWC in rushing, carrying the ball 232 times for 947 yards and 16 touchdown's without a fumble, and ranked in the top 5 nationally in a number of categories. He scored the winning touchdown in the 1965 Cotton Bowl against Nebraska that gave Arkansas it's only national championship; with that feat being named by Sports Illustrated a few years ago as the most memorable moment in Arkansas' Sport history. Bobby scored 2 touchdowns in the Senior Bowl before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills. He signed with the Bills, with Jack Kemp at quarterback, and Marty Schotenheimer at linebacker. Bobby was selected as the AFL's "Rookie of the Year" in 1966. He was also selected as All-Pro and scored twice in the Pro Bowl, while being selected as the Bill's Most Valuable Player for 1966. After his career with the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos, he completed his Master's degree in Education and became co-owner of the largest single-office real estate business in the state of Colorado, employing over 500 agents. He has been inducted into the State of Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame twice; as an individual in 1997, and as a member of the 1964 Razorback National Champion Team in 2010.
He will be forever remembered as an amazing athlete, father, grandfather, husband, friend, and inspiration to all who knew him.


Pro Players Association would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of our member Dan Haggerty, aka Grizzly Adams who passed away earlier today, Friday, Jan 15, 2016 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Met my friend Dan, most of you knew him as Grizzly Adams, in May 2007. We remained friends since, kept in touch, then he even became a member of Pro Players Association. It was an honor to be able to call Dan my friend. I just wrote him get well wishes earlier this week, as he was battling cancer. My heart breaks to have to say, the cancer won. You're probably reuniting with all your animal friends of years past. We'll miss your big heart and awesome smiles down here. Griz rest easy and rest in peace.

Photo by Blind Images ©2007

IN LOVING MEMORY OF STORM JACOB ADLER

March 11, 2001 - June 17, 2015

 

IN LOVING MEMORY OF JACOB "JAKE" BRYCE ADLER

September 26,1984 - December 24, 1999