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Former Hall of Fame Jayhawks quarterback John Hadl dies, team announces

Hadl is one of only three players in the school's program to have his number retired.
John Hadl
Posted at 2:40 PM, Nov 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-30 15:40:31-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Former Kansas Jayhawk and college football hall of fame quarterback John Hadl, who is one of only three players in the program football history to have his number retired, has died Wednesday, team announced on Twitter.

"We will deeply miss John and his contagious smile," Athletic Director Travis Gott said in a statement, "We will proudly honor him and his unrivaled legacy as we move forward.”

Hadl attended Lawrence High School and eventually attending and playing on the hometown football team he grew up watching.

He originally joined the Jayhawks as a running back, but would play in a variety of roles on the Jayhawks, which included him playing as a special teams returner, defensive back and even a punter during his time with the Jayhawks before eventually moving to quarterback in his final two years at the university.

During his three years with the Jayhawks, Hadl received multiple First Team All-American and All Big-Eight honors.

During his career, Hadl threw 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions as a quarterback. He also had 14 scrimmage touchdowns, a 98-yard pick six and also a kickoff and punt returning touchdown in his collegiate football career.

Hadl's number, 21, joins Gale Sayers (No. 48) and Ray Evans (No. 42) as the only three Jayhawks football players to have his number retired.

Hadl's football career continued as a professional, where he had a successful 16-year career with the San Diego Chargers, Green Bay Packers, Los Angles Rams and Houston Oilers.

During his professional football career, he won an AFL Championship with the Chargers in 1963, appeared in six Pro Bowls, First-Team All Pro Team in 1973 and led the AFL and NFL in passing yards and touchdowns in his career. Hadl is also in the Chargers Hall of Fame.

As a pro, Hadl posted a record of 82-75-9. He passed for 33,503 yards, including 244 touchdowns and 268 interceptions.

Hadl was inducted into to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

Hadl returned to the Jayhawks after his professional football career, as a quarterback and offensive coordinator for the football team. He served in that role from 1978-1981 before moving on to coach in the NFL and then-USFL with the Rams, Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Express.