Former Bronco Running Back Rob Lytle Dead At 56

Rest In Peace Mr. Lytle!

The name likely means nothing to most of the readers on this site.  For that matter his name probably wouldn’t resonate even an “oh yeah, I remember him” on other sites.  His name is, was, Rob Lytle and to me, his name conjures up images of a youth long ago passed by time.

Rob Lytle was a Denver Bronco during the “Orange Crush” days and was the only one to score a TD for the team in Super Bowl XII.  For 7 seasons, Lytle was a Bronco.  From his 2nd round drafting to 1983/84.  Which is where I come in.

Rob Lytle went to a small school in Fremont, Oh. called Fremont Ross.  The same school my mother graduated from 4 years before Lytle would.  I spent one or two weeks every summer casing the streets of Fremont growing up and still have most of my family living there today.  I vividly remember the clothing store named “Lytles” that his parents owned.  I was saddened when so many years ago it had burned to the ground.

For a kid growing up, Rob Lytle was a football hero.  That guy who came from the small town that made it big.  He was everyones’ hero.  There were two guys that I could somehow connect with that played in the NFL.  Lytle and former Miami Dolphins defensive linebacker, Bob Brudzinski who also lived and grew up in Fremont.  I was always in awe passing that clothing store.  Finding it hard to imagine that a professional football player often visited his parents and walked the same streets that I did every summer.  It was a connection to someone real that you could watch on TV.  Collect a football card of that guy that went to the same school as your mom.

I suppose in some way, his death on Saturday has hit the town of Fremont pretty hard.  He was after all a native son.  Rob Lytle had a heart attack at the young age of 56 and though I never met the man face to face, that I recall anyways, I have a picture of his signed that was given to me when I was a kid.  I haven’t heard the name or really thought much about him in all these years, but in some way, today, I remember that kid that walked those streets and in another way I feel as though a small part of me has left this world as well.  Youth holds strange memories and more often than not, the bitterest of circumstances that trigger that memory can still bring a smile.

May Rob Lytle rest in peace and may his family take comfort in knowing that he touched more than just those he physically came into contact with.

Topics: Oh, Rob Lytle, Rob Lytle Dies, Rob Lytle Fremont

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  • Rob H

    Thank you for this article. I hadn’t heard about this news. I remember Rob Lytle from my childhood. I was a Dolphin fan, with Bob Griese as a hero, but I definitely remember Rob Lytle, and the days of the Orange Crush. I am sorry about this loss to Lytle’s family and to the people of Fremont.

  • alan

    Nice article. RIP.

  • Wendy

    I too am a native of Fremont, OH. The sentiment you shared of Rob Lytle and Fremont are dead on to the feelings I felt when I heard of Rob’s passing yeterday. Thank you for your article and my thoughts and prayers are with the Lytle family.

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  • Brian Miller

    Wendy, where did you live in Fremont? I still go there quite a bit…well, I should be still going there quite a bit but don’t. LOL. My grandmother, all my aunts and uncles, and cousins still live there.

  • Johnny

    Being in grade school when the Broncos had that special year…..young memories tend to stay with you. My memories of Rob Lytle (first and last name always used as one)
    Heart was what I remember. He wasn’t flashy…wasn’t a star…but he was part of the core that made that team special. Part of my childhood faded away this week.

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  • Alex

    This is so true Mr.Miller! I’m life long resident of Fremont and although I didn’t go to Ross my parents did as well like your mother. In fact my dad graduated with Mr. Lytle in 1973 and has told me stories of how amazing of an athlete he was. I met Mr. Lytle a few years back and although it was a brief conversation I felt like I’ve known the Guy forever that was the mark he left on people. You were so right about the feeling you get walking the streets a professional athlete once walked for myself I thought of Mr Lytle and in recent years Charles Woodson. Yes the town is very saddened by his death but all 18,000 of us are more than proud to say its the hometown of Rob Lytle.

  • John Volk

    Brian, you captured perfectly my feelings and put them to words. I have been feeling a little melancholy the past few days hearing about Rob’s passing. I was at Michigan working on an MBA when Rob played. Having walked on at Purdue, I and my fellow students were avid sports fans. I remember meeting Rob at a party he held after he broke the Michigan rushing record. The party was in celebration of going to the Rose Bowl, not his rushing record. I was struck by how nice, humble and genuine he was, even to a stranger like me. I have always had a warm spot in my heart for Rob, just because of that one encounter. I am sad for Tracy and his family, and like you, am reminded that like fame, and youth is fleeting. I feel like a little of me died with Rob, just as a lot of people feel. He touched many lives in his humble, self-effacing ways.
    Thank you for voicing what I have felt.

  • Rob Wenger

    This was very nice to read. Rob is my Uncle and I am named after him. He is my mothers younger brother. I am have a baby boy who will carry his name and I hope, his spirit too.
    He was a loved man and will be missed. Thanks for all the kind words and comments!

    Rob

    • Brian Miller

      Please express my condolences to his family and of course yourself as well. I still think of Rob every time I go to Fremont.

  • Dave Clemmans

    I am a little late hearing about Rob’s passing. I was reading a recent SI that listed sports figures that passed away in 2010 and was shocked to see his name listed there. I graduated high scool in ’73 like Rob and was a huge fan of his even though I lived and still live in Illinois. My greatest memory of him was not any of the great plays he made on the field but a photo of him on a magazine cover (I think it was SI but not sure). It was a full page head shot of Rob right after Michigan had earned the Rose Bowl berth. He had a huge grin and had a long stem red rose clenched in his teeth. I remember thinking at the time that it doesn’t get any better than that. How cool would that be! Anyone else remember this picture?