El Dorado News-Times

Longtime Chiefs wide receiver Otis Taylor dies at age 80


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Otis Taylor, the longtime Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver who along with quarterbac­k Len Dawson formed one of the NFL's dynamic duos, died Thursday after more than a decade of health problems. He was 80.

Taylor's family, who had been caring for him as he dealt with Parkinson's disease and dementia, confirmed that he had passed away a mere seven months after Dawson, his close friend and teammate.

Taylor spent all 10-plus years of his career in Kansas City, where he was a fourth-round pick out of Prairie View A&M in the 1965 AFL draft. He went on to have two 1,000-yard seasons during an era in which the passing game was still evolving, and he finished his career with 7,306 yards and 57 touchdown catches.

"Otis made my job easy,” Dawson once said. “If you got the pass to Otis, you knew he’d catch it.”

Taylor is perhaps best remembered for the 46-yard touchdown pass in the 1970 Super Bowl that clinched the Chiefs' victory over the Vikings. He was part of two AFL championsh­ip teams, was voted to the Pro Bowl after the AFL-NFL merger in 1971 and 1972 and was inducted into the Chiefs' ring of honor in 1982.

Yet for all the plaudits during his playing days, Taylor continuall­y came up short of enshrineme­nt in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a senior finalist this past year but failed to make it through to the final round of voting.

Taylor was diagnosed with Parkinson's and associated dementia in 1990, and in 2012, his family filed a lawsuit against the NFL claiming it was legally responsibl­e for health issues he experience­d beginning with seizures in 1969.

Bedridden and largely unable to talk in recent years, the lawsuit sought financial help for his care, overseen for more than a decade by his sister, Odell, a licensed vocational nurse, along with his wife Regina and son, Otis Taylor III.

After his playing days and before his health problems, Taylor spent 11 years as a scout for the Chiefs.

He found himself at the center of another controvers­y in 1987, when NFL players had gone on strike. Taylor was arriving to Arrowhead Stadium for work when Jack Del Rio, who had just been traded to the team, mistook him for a replacemen­t player and attacked him. Taylor pressed charges against Del Rio, now the defensive coordinato­r of the Washington Commanders, and the two settled out of court.

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