Former Albany entrepreneur dies in NY - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Former Albany entrepreneur dies in NY

Keys at his Detroit store (Source: Family) Keys at his Detroit store (Source: Family)
A Brady Keys NFL card from the 1960s (Source: Keys family) A Brady Keys NFL card from the 1960s (Source: Keys family)
Keys (seated) at a trade show (Source: Family) Keys (seated) at a trade show (Source: Family)
ORLANDO, FL (WALB) -

Brady Keys, once an Albany fast food franchise owner and broadcaster, passed away from complications from a stroke in New York, at 81.

Keys was a native of Austin, Texas, played as a defensive back for eight seasons in the NFL, and made the Pro Bowl one year.

Keys owned several Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, Burger Kings in Southwest Georgia, and WJIZ Radio. 

He sold his Albany interests and relocated to Orlando in the early 2000s.

His Keys Group foundation did much to serve the youth of the Albany area, and sponsored large holiday basketball tournaments at the Albany Civic Center.

In his biography, Football to Finance, Keys said ten bankers turned him down for loans in the 60s, because they feared loaning money to a black man.

So Keys approached Steelers' owner, Art Rooney, Sr. who had been very supportive of his efforts both on and off the field. Rooney loaned Keys the seed money to start 'All Pro Fried Chicken' on nothing but his word that he would repay the loan.

"Rooney was sent from God," Keys said later.  Rooney never accepted repayment of the loan.

The Keys Group Company was ranked by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the nation's 100 owned black businesses over several years. 

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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