PHOENIX — Hall of Fame safety and team executive Larry Wilson died Thursday evening at the age of 82, the Arizona Cardinals announced Friday.
Wilson was a legendary presence in both NFL and Cardinals history, playing in 169 career games.
Following his playing days, he then embarked on a 30-year career as a team executive with the Cardinals.
“Larry Wilson was the kindest, most humble person that I will ever know. To most, he was this ferocious and fierce football player who some described as pound for pound the toughest player of his generation," said Nancy Wilson, Larry’s wife of 40 years.
"To me, he was the most generous and gentle soul you would ever meet. For Larry, it was always about everyone else and what he could do for them. And especially in the times we live, that’s something that that we could use more of today.”
In total, Wilson spent more than 43 years with the Arizona Cardinals organization as a player and executive.
“Besides my father, Larry Wilson was the most influential male figure in my life,” said Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill.
“He was someone who truly lived his faith and demonstrated it daily in the kindness he showed every single person he met. Any of us lucky enough to be in his orbit – whether that was for a few minutes or four decades - was always better off from the experience.
Here are a few of his notable accomplishments on the Gridiron:
- Earned eight Pro Bowl selections and was named first-team All-Pro five times
- Was named to both the NFL’s 75th and 100th Anniversary teams
- Enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978
- Held a variety of roles in the Cardinals front office from 1973-2002 including VP & General Manager from 1988-93
- Inducted into the Cardinals Ring of Honor at State Farm Stadium in 2006, his #8 is one just five retired jersey numbers in franchise history