American Football Database
David Little
File:David Little.JPG

David Little playing football

No. 50     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1959-01-03)January 3, 1959
Place of birth: Miami, Florida
Date of death: April 11, 2005(2005-04-11) (aged 46)
Place of death: Miami, Florida
High School: Andrew Jackson High School
Miami, Florida
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 232 lb (105 kg)
Career information
College: University of Florida
NFL Draft: 1981 / Round: 7 / Pick: 183
Debuted in 1981 for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Last played in 1992 for the Pittsburgh Steelers
Career history
* Pittsburgh Steelers ( 1981 1992)
Career highlights and awards
* Consensus All-American (1980)
Career NFL statistics as of 1992
Games played     179
Games started     125
Interceptions     10
Quarterback sacks     9
Fumbles recovered     11
Stats at
Stats at
Stats at

David Lamar Little, Sr. (January 3, 1959 – March 17, 2005) was an American college and professional football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for twelve seasons during the 1980s and early 1990s. Little played college football for the University of Florida, and was recognized as an All-American. Selected late in the seventh round of the 1981 NFL Draft, he played professionally for the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers and became a nine-season starter.

Early life

Little was born in Miami, Florida in 1959.[1] He attended Andrew Jackson High School in Miami,[2] and was a standout high school football player for the Jackson Generals.

College career

Little received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played linebacker for coach Doug Dickey and coach Charley Pell's Florida Gators football teams from 1977 to 1980.[3] As a senior team captain in 1980, he helped lead the Gators in the biggest one-year turnaround in the history of NCAA Division I football[4]—from 0–10–1 in 1979[5] to an 8–4 bowl team in 1980.[6] After the 1980 season, he was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection, a consensus first-team All-American, and the recipient of the Gators' Fergie Ferguson Award recognizing the "senior football player who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage."[3][7] He finished his four-year college career with 475 tackles—still the Gators' all-time career record.[3]

Little was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 1991.[8][9] In one of a series of articles published by The Gainesville Sun in 2006, the Sun sportswriters picked him as No. 18 among the 100 all-time greatest Gator players from the first century of Florida football.[10]

Professional career

Little was chosen in the seventh round (183rd pick overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers,[11] and he played for the Steelers from 1981 to 1992.[12] He was a middle linebacker for the team,[12] at one point starting eighty-nine games in a row. He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 1990 season.[1] In his twelve-season NFL career, Little appeared in 179 games, started 125 of them, and totaled ten interceptions and eleven recovered fumbles.[1]

Accidental death

Little died on March 17, 2005 as the result of a weight-lifting accident; he was 46 years old.[13] Little suffered from heart disease and experienced a cardiac flutter while lifting weights at his Miami home; he dropped 250 pounds of weights on his chest, which rolled onto his neck and suffocated him.[13]

Little was survived by his wife Denise, their two sons and daughter, his mother, and his older brother, Pro Football Hall of Fame member Larry Little, an All-Pro guard for the Miami Dolphins.[13]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2, Players, David Little. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  2., Players, David Little. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 87, 91, 96, 103, 124, 153, 183 (2011). Retrieved August 30, 2011.
  4. Norm Carlson, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, pp. 95–96 (2007).
  5. College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results 1975–1979. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  6. College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results 1980–1984. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  7. 2012 NCAA Football Records Book, Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, pp. 8 & 14 (2012). Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  8. F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  9. "Seven to be inducted into UF Hall of Fame," The Gainesville Sun, p. 8C (April 4, 1991). Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  10. Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 18 David Little," The Gainesville Sun (August 16, 2006). Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  11. Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1981 National Football League Draft. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  12. 12.0 12.1 National Football League, Historical Players, David Little. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Associated Press, "Obituary: David Little," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (2005). Retrieved June 24, 2010.


  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.