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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NFL world is mourning the loss of legendary Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson who died early Wednesday morning at the age of 87.

Dawson, who enjoyed a decorated 14-year career with the Chiefs, leaves a legacy as a champion on and off the field.

My family and I are heartbroken. Len Dawson is synonymous with the Kansas City Chiefs. Len embraced and came to embody Kansas City and the people that call it home. You would be hard-pressed to find a player who had a bigger impact in shaping the organization as we know it today than Len Dawson did. I admired Len my entire life – first as a Hall of Fame player on the field, and later as he transitioned into a successful broadcasting career. Throughout his remarkable career, Len made it a priority to give back to the community that he loved. The franchise has lost a true legend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Linda and his family.

Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt

Lenny the Cool led the Chiefs to their first-ever Super Bowl victory against the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.

His impact on the sports world was felt across the city and the region.

RIP to the legend Len Dawson. The legacy and impact you made in Kansas City will live on forever. Prayers to his family.

Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Dawson certainly left a mark on Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt, who said the legendary quarterback was his first sports hero.

“His impact on the Kansas City Chiefs and everyone who has ever worked for the organization cannot be overstated,” Hunt said Wednesday.

Hunt said the team is planning to honor Dawson during Thursday night’s preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium and also something later this season that would be open to fans.

The NFL family mourns the loss of Hall of Fame QB and Chiefs legend, Len Dawson. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.


Former Chiefs president Carl Peterson said Dawson didn’t just have an impact on Kansas City. He was known across the country.

“His charisma and personality truly emphasized something unique, and people around the country saw this guy from Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, and were impressed — and they should be,” Peterson said.

Peterson said Dawson was always professional and calm, and that spread to those around him.

“I never saw him get rattled. He never got flustered,” Peterson said. “I’m sure there are occasions where he wanted to, but he always had a great way to keep it inside and make everyone else feel calm.”

We lost a true legend and wonderful human being @Chiefs nation with the passing of Len Dawson. HOF QB, broadcaster and all around great guy. RIP brother!

Rich Gannon – Former NFL Quarterback (Chiefs 1995-1998)

RIP Len Dawson. An amazing person who also was a HOF Quarterback and a HOF Broadcaster. Love and prayers to his family and friends.

Trent Green – Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback (2001-2006)

My thoughts & prayers go out to the family & loved ones of legendary QB Len Dawson. Everyone that has ever been a part of @Chiefs Kingdom know his impact on the field & in the community. I’m thankful for the great memories I had with him during my time in KC. He’ll be missed.

Matt Cassel – Former NFL Quarterback (Chiefs 2009-2012)

His former teammate, Chiefs Hall of Fame defensive end Bobby Bell, said losing Dawson hits hard.

“We just lost a family member that was like an icon for Kansas City. Everyone around here knew Lenny Dawson,” he said.

Everyone in Kansas City knew who Dawson was, but few knew him better than his teammates.

“He was a teammate, a friend, a buddy. Somebody you can call and talk to,” Bell said. “He always had something to say.”

“Lenny was a happy-go-lucky guy. He wanted everyone else to be the same way. He wanted us to have fun,” Bell added.

And his legacy is cemented in history. Lenny the Cool went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1987 and a broadcaster in 2012.

Len grew up only a few miles from where the Pro Football Hall of Fame later was built, and fans in the area have always taken a special pride in seeing one of the greats from this region enshrined in Canton, Ohio. Fans connected with Len’s story of perseverance, appreciating how he gave the game one more try after five nondescript seasons when many others would have quit.

The American Football League, and Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram, gave Len a true opportunity, and he made the most of it, building the Chiefs into a Super Bowl contender, and eventually a world champion.

Our thoughts and prayers extend to his wife, Linda, and to all of Len’s family and friends in Kansas City and in Alliance, Ohio.

The flag at the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be flown at half-staff in his honor.

Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter

We lost a great man. We will miss you Lenny R.I.P.

Christian Okoye – Kansas City Chiefs Running Back (1987-1992)

Len Dawson is an American legend, a Super Bowl Champion, a world class broadcaster, and will forever be among the most important and beloved figures in our city’s history. 

The Royals send sympathy and support to the Chiefs and the Dawson family.

Kansas City Royals

Rest In Peace, Len Dawson. One of Kansas City’s greatest on the field, in broadcasting, and in our community.

My thoughts are with his wife, Linda, his family, and the many friends he made over a tremendous lifetime.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas

Dawson’s playing career started as a standout quarterback at Purdue before he joined the NFL. His college team and alma matter remembered him Wednesday as well.

A legend at Purdue. And with the Chiefs. And in the broadcast booth.

Simply, a legendary life.

Please keep the Dawson family and Len’s many friends and colleagues in your thoughts.

Purdue Football

We are very saddened to hear the loss of a true #Purdue legend, Len Dawson. Dawson was a 1957 @PurdueHHS @HKPurdue graduate. His family and friends are in our thoughts.

Purdue College of Health and Human Sciences