Friday, July 16, 2010

Former N.C. State great Byrd hospitalized

Dennis Byrd, one of the most decorated football players in N.C. State history, is hospitalized with a heart problem, a school official confirmed Friday evening.

N.C. State executive senior associate athletic director David Horning said he doesn't know many details, but said Byrd is in a Charlotte hospital and being closely monitored.

"The prayers of the Wolfpack nation are out there with him, and we love Dennis Byrd," Horning said. "We love Dennis Byrd. He is larger than life, and he is one of the best defensive linemen who ever played for N.C. State."

In May, Byrd became the fifth former N.C. State player selected to the College Football Hall of Fame. He will be inducted on Dec. 7 at the National Football Foundation's annual awards dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

Byrd, who played for N.C. State from 1964 to 1967, was the first three-time All-ACC selection in football. He was a first-team All-American twice and the first N.C. State player to receive consensus All-America honors.

He was a member of the famed "White Shoes" defense and helped the Wolfpack gain a share of the 1965 ACC title and its first postseason win, over Georgia in the 1967 Liberty Bowl.

After being drafted No. 6 overall in 1968, Byrd played two seasons with the Boston Patriots before a knee injury forced him to retire. He later enjoyed a 30-yard career as a high school teacher and coach before retiring in 2001.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

"a 30 yard career, huh?" LOL. Anyway, a number 6 draft choice these days would be set for life with millions of dollars. Too bad he got injured but I'd imagine all those kids he coached were the better for his tough luck.