In his rookie season, when he started four of the Chiefs’ 14 games, he caught 26 passes for 446 yards. He emerged as a star the next season, and over his career he was chosen for the Pro Bowl three times and was a first-team All-Pro twice.
He caught a total of 410 passes in his career for 7,306 yards, with 57 touchdowns. He ranks third in Chiefs history in receiving yards, after Tony Gonzalez and Travis Kelce.
Taylor’s playing career ended after the 1975 season, and he became a scout for the team. In 1981, he was upset that Marv Levy, the Chiefs head coach at the time, had not interviewed him for an assistant coaching job.
“I was the most frustrated and saddest man in the world,” Taylor told The Kansas City Star. “All the jobs that were available, and I never got a call from anyone. I’ll never put myself on a pedestal and say I should get a coaching job because I’m Otis Taylor. That’s not the way the system works. But it would be nice at least to be thought of.”
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and dementia in 1990. He filed a successful claim under the roughly $1 billion class action settlement that resulted from players who sued the N.F.L. for covering up the dangers of concussions. His family cited “multiple repetitive traumatic head impacts, subconcussive and concussive injuries” during games and practices, and he sought medical care for the rest of his life.
He was described as being bedridden and dependent on a feeding tube by The Associated Press in a 2016 article.
Taylor’s survivors included his wife, Regina Taylor; his sister, Odell; and his son, Otis III.
While several of his teammates have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Taylor has fallen short, most recently last year.
“If you close your eyes and think about something you want to happen,” he told The Star in 1999, “it can happen if only for a second or two.”
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