Monroe, LA Pro Football Player Drowns, Jun 1983
PRO GRIDDER JOE DELANEY DROWNS IN RESCUE ATTEMPT.
Monroe, La. (UPI) - Kansas City running back JOE DELANEY - the AFC's 1981 rookie of the year - drowned Wednesday trying to rescue two youngsters from a rain-swollen amusement park waterhole.
"He saw them get into trouble," police officer Marvin Deerman said Wednesday. "We think he dived down not knowing how deep it was and couldn't find the bottom to push up."
DELANEY, 24, leaped into a pit created by construction of a waterslide when he saw three boys slip in out of the depth. The third youth swam to safety and left the scene before police could question him.
The accident occurred at a downtown amusement park in a square, 15-foot deep pit beside a new waterslide. Police divers recovered the bodies of DELANEY and one of the youths, HARRY HOLLAND, JR., 11, of Monroe.
The second boy - identified as LANCER PERKINS, 10, of Rayville, La., - was listed in critical condition at St. Francis Medical Center.
DELANEY is survived by his wife, Carolyn, two young daughters and an infant son.
"JOE was like a breath of fresh air," said Jim Schaaf, the Chiefs' general manager and vice president.
"He was so friendly and easy going and fun to be around. He loved his family, loved life and loved football, and everyone who knew him or had an opportunity to be around him loved him."
Authorities said DELANEY, a former rushing standout at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, lived in Ruston but was visiting Monroe in northeast Louisiana for the day.
"It is a sad day to see a young man like this struck down in the bright years of his life," Sen. Don Kelly, D-Natchitoches, told the state Legislature after receiving word of DELANEY'S death.
"JOE was a fine athlete. And aside from that, he was a fine man."
DELANEY, 5-foot-10, 184, was the Chiefs No. 2 draft choice from Northwestern in 1981. He underwent surgery May 19, 1982, for a detached retina and played sparingly this past season.
He set a club record rushing 1,121 yards in 15 games in 1981 and had the longest run (82 yards) and the best individual game (193 yards) of any back in the NFL that season.
DELANEY was recognized by his AFC peers as offensive rookie of the year. He was also chosen UPI's AFC rookie of the year. In 1981 he had 234 rushing attempts averaging 4.8 yards per carry as the Chiefs finished 9-7 for their first winning season since 1973.
As a tailback for the Northwestern Demons between 1977 and 1980, DELANEY rushed for a total of 3,047 yards and was honored twice as a 1-AA all-American, a university spokesman said.
NLU athletic director Tynes Hildebrand praised DELANEY as "some
kind of person."
"JOE was a true friend and I was very pleased to have the opportunity to be associated with him on a very personal level," Hildebrand said. "He was very special to all of us at Northwestern."
Tyrone Daily Herald Pennsylvania 1983-06-30