DENVER - Frank Tripucka, the first quarterback in Broncos history, a Ring of Famer and the first player to have his number retired by the team, died Thursday morning following a lengthy illness. He was 85.
Tripucka completed 10 of 15 passes in the Broncos' first-ever game in 1960, a 13-10 victory against the Boston Patriots.
Broncos general manager Bob Howsam, who later gained prominence in baseball as architect of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine in the mid-1970s, retired Tripucka's No. 18 following the quarterback's retirement in 1963. Floyd Little (44) and John Elway (7) are the only other Broncos' players to have their numbers retired.
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