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Chargers Mourn Loss of Speedy Duncan
The three-time AFL All-Star for the Bolts was inducted in the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1995 and was a member of the Chargers 40th and 50th Anniversary Teams.
By Hayley Elwood Dec 09, 2021

Former Chargers cornerback, Leslie "Speedy" Duncan, passed away at the age of 79.

Speedy Duncan was a walking highlight reel before there were highlights. I had the honor of meeting him several times over the years at our alumni events, and you'd be hard pressed to find a nicer person. He was the life of the party, always with a joke at the ready, and his smile was as welcoming as his talent was immense.

At those events, we would play old footage up on the screens – all the best plays by Charger greats of every era. It's hard to stand out in a montage like that, but then you'd see number 45, a player so slight in stature that his shoulder pads looked three sizes too big. A ball would fall out of the sky on grainy video, land in Speedy's hands and then…magic. With eight touchdowns in eight seasons as a DB or returner, he was a true game-changer whose momentum altering ability carried him to three straight Pro Bowls, the Chargers Hall of Fame and earned him a spot on our 50th Anniversary team.

Speedy was, as his nickname fittingly would indicate, a player who was ahead of his time. Our hearts are with the entire Duncan family, his teammates and everyone who was touched by Speedy and his larger-than-life personality. He will be sorely missed. – Chargers owner, Dean Spanos

The former Jackson State Tiger played for the San Diego Chargers from 1964-1970, which included playing for the team both in the AFL and NFL. He spent 1971-1974 playing for Washington.

Duncan was a three-time AFL All-Star with the Chargers (1965-1967) and earned an NFL Pro Bowl honor later in his career after the merger happened.

He's tied for the franchise record of most interceptions in one game (three) which he did vs. the Raiders on Sept. 25, 1966. Additionally, in '66, his seven picks tied for seventh-most interceptions in a season in team history. He is tied for seventh for interceptions in team history (21.)

He was inducted in the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1995 and was a member of the Chargers 40th and 50th Anniversary Teams.

He was a great friend. He and I were always at one another, we always had great practices and always went after one another. I was so happy to have someone to play with that was as good as he was. He was fantastic and competitive. Speedy was exactly what they called him, Speedy. But he was a great person, a great teammate and he helped us win an awful lot of games and be a great team.

He was friendly, but you had to get to know him before you could really appreciate his humor. But he was always on top of everything; an extremely smart individual. Not only a good player but he was a great, tactical player. He played the game, he knew what was coming. He was great to be around. He made things workable and he helped us to be a team. – Hall of Fame wide receiver, Lance Alworth

Speedy was the ideal teammate, and by that I mean, he was dedicated to his craft and he showed it by practicing hard and playing hard.

He had great courage. His rookie season, he suffered a broken jaw, and he played for the next three months with his jaw wired up! The only food he could take in was through a straw. I can't even count the number of games that he electrified not only the crowd, but the team, by having an interception or a punt or kickoff return.

He had a great sense of humor. He was the only person I know who gave himself a nickname. When I met him, I said, 'Hi Leslie, nice to meet you!' And he said, 'Call me Speedy.' That came from him. He knew himself best because it fit!

He was just a good citizen. He cared about people. After his career, he was dedicated to being an effective teacher and he gave a lot to the community. – Hall of Fame tackle, Ron Mix

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