Sun Aug 9 8:02pm ET
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (AP) Carroll Hardy, a multi-sport star best known as the only man ever to pinch hit for Ted Williams, died Sunday at age 87.
Hardy was also known as the football executive who helped assemble the ''Orange Crush'' defense in Denver during the 1970s.
The University of Colorado, where Hardy was a three-sport star, said he died of complications from dementia. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Hardy went on to play professional baseball and football after starring in track, baseball and football at Colorado from 1951-55.
CU athletic director Rick George called Hardy ''a true icon of the state. His list of accomplishments in his lifetime and the people he touched are really second to none. We have lost a great Buffalo.''
Hardy earned a record 10 letters altogether in the early 1950s. An All-American honorable mention in 1953 and '54, Hardy rushed for 1,999 career yards with a whopping 6.87-yard average per carry, which remains the best in school history among players with at least 60 carries.
Hardy led the nation in kickoff return average in 1952 and had six interceptions for the Buffaloes.
On the diamond, Hardy was CU's all-time career batting average leader (.392) with 118 hits in 301 at-bats with 15 homers, 80 RBIs, 107 runs scored and 45 stolen bases.
He once ran a 9.8 in the 100-yard dash on the indoor track.
Hardy was the 33rd overall pick in the 1955 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. and averaged 28.2 yards a catch as a rookie with 12 receptions for 338 yards and four touchdowns.
Before reporting to the 49ers camp, Hardy signed with the Cleveland Indians and played on their A-league team in Reading, Pennsylvania. In 1956, he was hitting .365 in 21 games with the Indians' Triple-A team in Indianapolis when he was ordered to report to the U.S. Army.
He returned to the Indians after his two-year tour of military duty and his major league career spanned a decade from 1958-67 with stops in Cleveland, Boston, Houston and Minnesota.
Hardy was the only man ever to pinch hit for Red Sox icons Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.
''I'd like to have people remember me for hitting 400 home runs and a lifetime batting average of .305, but I didn't do that,'' Hardy once told the Denver Post. ''But it's not bad being remembered as the only man to ever pinch-hit for Ted Williams.''
Hardy's first major league homer was a three-run shot in the bottom of the 11th to beat the White Sox when he was sent to the plate in place of Roger Maris in 1958 when both were with the Indians.
Boston traded Hardy to the expansion Colt 45's in 1963 and he later joined the Twins, who sent him to their affiliate in Denver.
During his two-plus seasons with the Denver Bears, he began scouting part-time for the Denver Broncos in the offseason.
That led to a 24-year stint with the Broncos in various roles including assistant ticket manager, director of scouting, pro personnel director and assistant general manager.
He finished his major league career with a September call-up with the Twins in 1967, then turned his attention full-time to football.
Hardy was credited with helping to build Denver's ''Orange Crush'' defense that led to the Broncos' first Super Bowl appearance in 1977. That dominant defense included Randy Gradishar, Tom Jackson, Louis Wright, Lyle Alzado, Otis Armstrong and Barney Chavous.
Hardy also helped assemble the Broncos' 1986 and '87 Super Bowl teams before his retirement.
Hardy was born in 1933 in Sturgis, South Dakota. He is survived by his wife of nearly 64 years, Janice Mitchell, son Jay and daughters Jill and Lisa.
With the coronavirus pandemic, funeral services will be for family only, but a celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
August 5th: ADP Value
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara spoke to the media earlier Monday and offered more details about his injury-plagued 2019 season. Kamara said he "tore his knee' in Week 5 against Jacksonville last year and that he had to deal with it the rest of the season. The 25-year-old didn't require surgery, though he spent the entire offseason rehabbing the knee and said he feels healthy now. Kamara finished as the RB16 in PPR formats despite dealing with the knee and ankle injuries. Coming into 2020 a bit leaner after adopting a plant-based diet, Kamara is poised to have the best season of his career in a contract year. He should be a top-five pick in both formats and could be taken as early as the third pick in PPR leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green reportedly has been impressing teammates in practices this week as he works back from injuries that robbed him of his entire 2019 season. Tight end C.J. Uzomah told reporters, "We're just running routes and haven't gone full speed against the defense. Drew (Sample) only saw him last year for, what, that first practice? He said, 'I forgot how explosive he is.' I told him, 'You haven't seen the half of it yet.'" Green has serious bounce-back potential as the No. 1 WR in a Bengals offense that should be one of the most-improved in the league. He can be treated as an upside WR3 in fantasy drafts.
Free-agent CB Tramaine Brock and DT Carl Davis were signed to undisclosed contracts by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Aug. 9.
Free-agent RB Derrius Guice (Football Team) passed through waivers unclaimed Sunday, Aug. 9.
Free-agent RB Kenjon Barner (Falcons) is expected to sign with the Baltimore Ravens in the near future, according to a source.
Free-agent DT Caraun Reid (Cardinals) signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Aug. 9. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Free-agent S Marqui Christian (Jets) recently met with the Chicago Bears.
Free-agent TE Jordan Reed (Football Team) officially signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Aug. 9. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Fantasy Spin: Reed has dealt with injuries during his career but has posted solid numbers when healthy. He will be the No. 2 tight end for the 49ers behind George Kittle but should have a decent role in the passing game. Reed probably should be considered a No. 2 fantasy tight end in most leagues.
Free-agent CB Tramaine Brock (Titans) is meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Aug. 9, and likely will sign with the team if the meeting goes well, according to a source.
Philadelphia Eagles LB Jatavis Brown was placed on the Reserve/Retired list Sunday, Aug. 9.
Free-agent DT Mike Daniels (Lions) is meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Aug. 9, and is expected to sign with the team, according to a source.
Los Angeles Rams DT A'Shawn Robinson (undisclosed) is expected to play at some point during the 2020 season, but the team will take things slow with him since he was diagnosed with a medical issue during the medical on-boarding process.
Buffalo Bills WR Duke Williams was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 9. The team also released CB Akeem King.
Washington Football Team TE Logan Thomas was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Sunday, Aug. 9.
Free-agent S J.J. Wilcox (Falcons) officially re-signed with the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Aug. 9. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Atlanta Falcons CB Darqueze Dennard will compete for a starting position in the team's secondary at left cornerback and could be used in nickel packages if CB Kendall Sheffield is moved outside, according to head coach Dan Quinn.
Washington Football Team LB Reuben Foster (knee) was removed from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Sunday, Aug. 9.
With both Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson opting out of the 2020 NFL season, the Miami Dolphins needed help at wide receiver. They got that help on Sunday, signing former Colts wide receiver Chester Rogers. Rogers won't set the world on fire, but he did have 53 catches for 485 yards in 2018 before dropping off last season. He's clearly not competing with DeVante Parker and Preston Williams for the top roles in Miami, but he could carve out a role as the team's No. 3 receiver. That's probably not a fantasy relevant role, but he could be worth a late pick in best ball formats just in case.
Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson has been activated from the league's reserve/COVID-19 list. A good amount of Detroit's offense was put on the list, including quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Kenny Golladay, but all have been removed, so the Lions offense should be back to normal now. Unless we hear otherwise, we can assume Hockenson is healthy and that he should be drafted as a high-end TE2 with plenty of upside. He's a potential candidate for a big second-year breakout.