Biography: Lionel Taylor

Lionel Taylor, one of the “original Broncos,” was one of the initial Ring of Famers after being inducted with the inaugural class in 1984.

He finished his seven-year Broncos career (1960-66) as the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions (543) and receiving yards (6,872), records he held until 1999 when he was eclipsed by Shannon Sharpe and most recently by Rod Smith.

In addition, he set a Broncos record for career touchdown receptions with 44, a mark that now ties for the fourth highest in team history. He caught 92 passes for 1,235 yards (13.4 avg.) with 12 touchdowns in Denver’s inaugural 1960 campaign, and his reception total that year stands as the eighth best by a second-year player in NFL history.

Taylor followed his impressive 1960 campaign with 100 receptions (1,176 yds.) in 1961 that stood as the franchise record until 2000 and currently tie for eighth on its single-season chart. Regarded by many as the possessor of the best hands in pro football, Taylor led the AFL in receiving for five of the league’s first six years of existence. He never caught fewer than 76 passes in a season over those first six years, averaging 84.7 catches from 1960-65 for the highest six-year total in football history at that time. He totaled AFL/NFL bests in receptions (508) while ranking third in receiving yards (6,424) and tying for eighth in touchdown receptions (43) from 1960-65.

A three-time All- AFL selection (1960-61, ‘65) who played in the league all-star game in 1962, Taylor attended New Mexico Highlands University. He entered the NFL with Chicago in 1959 and played for the Bears as a linebacker for one season before joining the Broncos in 1960. He finished his professional career playing two seasons with Houston from 1967-68.