Leroy Keyes was a mega-star at Purdue and it led to the Philadelphia Eagles using the third pick in the 1969 draft to select the running back. The great Boilermaker succumbed to cancer and congestive heart failure Thursday at the age of 74.
The Keyes family released this statement:
“The Keyes family is saddened to announce the passing of Purdue’s Athlete of the Century, Leroy Keyes. He passed peacefully at home this morning at 5:17 a.m. local time surrounded by his wife and children. Celebration of Life arrangements will be forthcoming. Your thoughts, prayers and condolences are felt and truly appreciated. We thank you for respecting our privacy during this difficult time.”
Keyes had a remarkable college career. He was third in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1967 and runner-up in 1968.
He finished as the school’s career leader in touchdowns (37), points (222), and all-purpose yards (3,757). Oh, and Keyes threw eight TD passes, too.
This was a time when college players did not see action as freshmen, either.
The Eagles chose Keyes third overall after O.J. Simpson and George Kunz but his NFL career was hampered by injuries. He played four seasons with the Eagles before finishing his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1973.
He rushed for 361 yards and three TDs as a rookie. Keyes played strong safety in his final two seasons with Philadelphia.