Goldie Sellers, who had two kickoff returns for touchdowns in 1966 and seven interceptions in 1967 for the Broncos and later was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl IV team, died Saturday night from complications of cancer. He was 78.
“A tremendous ballplayer, a tremendous friend,’’ said Rich “Tombstone” Jackson, a Broncos Ring of Fame defensive end. “He was well-liked by all the guys.’’
Sellers was surrounded by family when he passed away Saturday evening in the Golden/Applewood home he lived in for 50 years.
“He went away very, very peacefully,’’ said Vasa “Peaches” Sellers, Goldie’s wife of 54 years. “I asked God to not let him suffer and he answered that prayer.’’
Born January 9, 1942 in Winnsboro, La., Goldie Sellers played football for legendary coach Eddie Robinson and ran track (clocked at 9.4 second in the 100 yard dash) at Grambling State University where as a freshman he was a teammate of future Pro Football Hall of Famers Buck Buchanan and Willie Brown.
Sellers was a sophomore when he started dating one of the school’s cheerleaders. Two years later, on New Year’s Eve, 1965, Goldie and “Peaches” were married.
Denver’s 8th round draft choice in 1966 (he was also drafted by the NFL Chicago Bears), Sellers had three interceptions as a cornerback but where he really made his mark in his rookie season was a kickoff returner, scoring touchdowns of 88 and 100 yards while leading the American Football League with a 28.4-yard return average.
In his second year, Sellers had 7 interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. After the 1967 season, Broncos’ head coach and general manager Lou Saban traded Sellers to the Chiefs, where in his first season of 1968 he had three more interceptions and a punt return for a touchdown.
Sellers’ first professional experience was at the Broncos’ 1966 training camp at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.
Two years later, Goldie and Vasa bought a “short acre” parcel of land for $6,500 in Applewood Mesa of unincorporated Jefferson County in 1968 and started to have their home built there in January 1970.
“The area was so green and plush, it reminded him of the South we grew up in,’’ Peaches said. “So we bought a plot of land and sat on it for two years. We had someone do $5,000 worth of architectural plans for our home for $250.’’
Sellers also played on the Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV team in 1969, which turned out to be his final season of playing.
“After Super Bowl IV, we were able to start building our home in January 1970 that we still live in today,” Vasa said.
Sellers suffered a thigh injury in training camp of 1970 and spent the entire season on the Chiefs’ injured reserve list. He was then traded to Houston, where he balked at a position switch to receiver. Released and picked up by the Boston Patriots, Sellers decided to come home to his family in Applewood and worked for Chuck Stevinson Chevrolet rather than accept a pay cut. (In those days, it wasn’t uncommon for a portion of the U.S. workforce to earn near, if not more than what professional players were making).
He was then hired away by Mountain Bell as a yellow-pages salesman where he was in charge of a 14-state territory.
“He made more money in that job than he could have ever dreamed making in football,’’ Vasa said.
He was with Mountain Bell and Qwest for 29 years, 5 months when he retired just before the Joseph Nacchio insider trading scandal hit in the early 2000s.
“His crazy wife tried to tell him to wait until he had 30 years to retire,’’ Vasa said. “Had he done that he would have lost everything (to the Nacchio scandal). It always worked out well for him.”
Vasa said she donated her husband’s body to science with the rest of his remains to be cremated so that Goldie, Vasa and their daughter Goldie Genean “G.G.” could one day have their ashes joined together. Goldie Sellers was also survived by two sons, Roderick and Rory, grandson Donivan and dozens of former Broncos and Chiefs teammates.
“He was very proud of being a Denver Bronco and just as proud of being a Kansas City Chief,’’ Vasa said.
Vasa said Goldie’s closest friends were former Bronco player and long-time local real-estate agent Odell Barry and former Chiefs teammate Emmitt Thomas. She also mentioned the lifelong friendships Goldie had with his former Chiefs’ roommates Eric Crabtree and Frank Pitts and locker buddy Mike Garrett.
Vasa said a memorial service would be arranged for Goldie after the coronavirus pandemic passes and its safe for so many of his friends and former teammates to travel.