Former Chiefs First-Round Pick Dead at 61

Willie Scott Chiefs

Getty Kansas City Chiefs

Former Kansas City Chiefs tight end Willie Scott died late Monday, February 8 at the age of 61, his alma mater South Carolina has confirmed.

While no official cause of death has been revealed at this time, the Charlotte Observer has reported that the Newberry, South Carolina native was in need of a heart and kidney transplant and battled heart problems in recent years.

Scott represents the second death of a member of Chiefs Kingdom on Monday following the news of legendary head coach Marty Schottenheimer passing away peacefully at age 77 after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. February 8 is also remembered as the anniversary of the death of Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas in 2000.

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Chiefs Drafted Scott 14th Overall in 1981

After a strong finish to his collegiate career with the Gamecocks, Scott was originally selected by the Chiefs in the first round (No. 14 overall) in the 1981 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder spent his first five seasons in Kansas City, hauling in 75 passes for 682 yards and 11 touchdowns. He spent his first two seasons playing under head coach Marv Levy before the team brought in John Mackovic for Scott’s final three years His entire Chiefs career was spent catching passes from nine-year veteran quarterback Bill Kenney.

Scott was later traded to the New England Patriots during training camp prior the to start of the 1986 season. Over the course of eight NFL campaigns, Scott accumulated 89 passes for 766 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Following the conclusion of his pro career, he transitioned to coaching, including stints with the Patriots, East Carolina, South Carolina State, Savannah State, Newberry College and four different high schools.

The son of a Newberry High School math teacher and assistant principal, Scott was also a leader of the NAACP for his region, per his Wikipedia profile. His legacy in the state will live on in multiple halls of fame, including the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame, South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Hall of Fame.

Scott Recalled Much Different NFL Draft Experience

With the 2021 NFL Draft quickly approaching in late April, the contrast between today’s television spectacle and the process in 1981 is stark. During a 2013 interview with The State, Scott recalled eating lunch on the South Carolina campus when he received the draft call from the Chiefs front office.

“I said that’s fine, but I’m going to class,” Scott told the Columbia, South Carolina newspaper. “I went to class and I came back and they had drafted me. They said, ‘You have to come out to Kansas City,’ and I said ‘I can’t come, I’ve got class.’”

After missing his initial flight to Kansas City, Scott was whisked away for a local media tour after landing around 9:30 p.m. that night. However, the Chiefs had to satisfy one condition on his behalf.

“The only reason I agreed to come was because I had a big test and presentation on the next day at Dent Middle School,” Scott added. “I said y’all need to have me back by 12 tomorrow and I left Kansas City at 6 that morning and came back to Columbia.”


Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!

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