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Remembering former NFL running back Joe Delaney 31 years later

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Joe Delaney sacrificed his life in an attempt to rescue three strangers.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL in its slow season, today feels like a good opportunity to remember one of the game's greatest heroes.

But it wasn't because of what he did on the gridiron. His career was short, lasting just two seasons. But Joe Delaney of the Kansas City Chiefs became a hero for what he chose to do in a moment of crisis. On June 29, 1983, Delaney saw three children that began to struggle swimming in a man-made water hole at Chennault Park in Monroe, La.

Knowing that he wasn't that great of a swimmer and that he'd be risking his own life, Delaney decided to do what he could to save the kids. He swam out there and was able to save one of the children. Devastatingly so, the other two children, and Delaney, would lose their lives that day. Selflessly, Delaney did everything in his power to help when he otherwise could have waited for someone else to react first.

Delaney was only 24 years old when he died. He left behind a wife and three daughters.

Delaney was a small back at 5-10, 184 pounds. But as a rookie with the Chiefs in 1981, he ran for 1,121 yards and three touchdowns.

But it was clear his heart was as big as his play on the field. Delaney's actions that day should never be forgotten.

If you have the time, definitely check out this 22-minute short film the Chiefs organization produced on Delaney.