John Hadl, a four-time AFL All-Star and two-time Pro Bowler, died Wednesday morning at the age of 82, his alma mater, the University of Kansas, announced.
A dynamic do-it-all talent in college, Hadl went on to become one of the AFL's elite quarterbacks with the Chargers. Hadl played 11 seasons for San Diego before stints with the Rams, Packers and Oilers to close out his phenomenal career.
Hadl, who was a backup on the Chargers' 1963 AFL Championship team, led the league in passing thrice in his career, which he concluded with 33,503 yards passing, 244 touchdown passes, 1,112 yards rushing, 16 rushing scores and an 82-75-9 record as a starting QB. He was also the 1971 NFL Man of the Year.
A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Hadl starred for the Jayhawks as a quarterback, running back, defensive back, punter and returner. As a sophomore, Hadl led the nation in punting (45.6 yards per punt) and set KU records with a 94-yard punt (still the longest in school history) and a 98-yard interception return (which stood as the school best until 2007). He went on to become the school's first two-time All-American in 1960 and '61 when his talents at halfback and quarterback were lauded.
His days at Kansas would lead him to the College Hall of Fame and to being selected No. 10 overall in the 1962 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions and in the third round of the 1962 AFL Draft by the Chargers. Hadl chose the Chargers and proved to be a splendid fit for Sid Gillman's squad.
Hadl was an AFL All-Star in the 1964, '65, '68 and '69 seasons before earning his first Pro Bowl bid in 1972 with the Bolts, following the AFL-NFL merger.
After the '72 season, Hadl was traded to the Rams, where he was once again a Pro Bowler and earned first-team AP All-Pro honors.
He would be traded again, this time in an infamous transaction in which Packers head coach Dan Devine sent five draft picks to the Rams to acquire Hadl, who went 7-12 as a starter in Green Bay with nine touchdowns to 29 interceptions. The trade proved to be essential, however, in the Rams building up a roster that achieved great success throughout the 1970s.
Hadl ended his NFL playing career with the Oilers primarily as a backup, but would go on to be an NFL assistant for the Rams and Broncos before two seasons as the head coach of the USFL's Los Angeles Express.