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Former New York Jets' player Larry Grantham talks during halftime of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Former NFL linebacker Larry Grantham has died at the age of 78, per Randy Lange of the New York Jets‘ official site.

Grantham was a member of the original New York Titans in 1960 for three years before the franchise was renamed the Jets in 1963. He spent 13 years in the organization before retiring in 1973.

The defensive star was selected to five All-Star Games in the AFL and was All-Pro five different times.

Although sacks weren’t an official statistic, he racked up 24 interceptions in his career and recovered 10 fumbles. According to Pro Football Reference, he ranked third in franchise history in approximate value, ahead of Joe Namath.

Meanwhile, his intangibles were a big part of the team’s success, including the 1968 Super Bowl champion squad.

“I always saw Larry as the captain and the leader,” teammate Gerry Philbin said, per Lange. “His football knowledge, the way he skirted around blockers and made tackles, he just surprised a lot of people. Pound for pound, he was the best player on the Jets.”

The Crystal Springs, Mississippi, native also spent his college career as a receiver at Ole Miss.

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