Alex Karras: Detroit Lions Legend Passes Away

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2012

USA Today
USA Today

For those too young to remember, Alex Karras was one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the history of the NFL and the Detroit Lions' franchise, voted to the all-decade team for the 1960s and was named a four-time Pro Bowl DT.

Now, the 77-year-old Karras has passed away after dealing with failing kidneys on top of the dementia and cancer he has faced in the last several years.


UPDATE: Wednesday, October 10, 10:40 a.m. ET by Donald Wood 

NFL legend and actor Alex Karras passed away Wednesday at the age of 77 after battling kidney failure over the last several days. CNN is reporting on the NFL legend’s death:

Former NFL player and actor Alex Karras died Wednesday in Los Angeles, a family spokesman said. He was 77.

"After a heroic fight with kidney disease, heart disease, dementia and for the last two years, stomach cancer," Karras died at his home, surrounded by family, the spokesman said.

The former Detroit Lion was voted to the All-Decade team for the 1960s and is widely remembered as one of the best players in the history of the Lions’ franchise.

---End of Update---


Karras’ longtime friend Tom McInerney told the Detroit Free Press about a conversation he had with the NFL legend’s wife, Susan:

I got a call from Susan last Wednesday or Thursday that he was in the hospital. (His kidneys) gave out on him and legs swelled up and his ankles swelled up and arms, so she said it doesn’t look good. They figured probably a couple weeks…She said if you came out here it wouldn’t be worth his while because right now he’s talking about he wants to see his (deceased) mother and dad, and he’s on morphine, he’s on oxygen. She said it’s maybe a couple, three days at the most.

Besides his stellar play in the NFL, Karras was also a part of the over 3,000 former NFL players suing the NFL over the long-term effects of concussions on players.

As great as his playing career and his impact on the league has been over his lifetime, it was his time acting and broadcasting that made him a household name later in his career.

After becoming the Monday Night Football announcer for three years, Karras took roles in hit movies like Porky’s, Centennial and his best role (in my opinion) as Mongo in the Mel Brooks' classic Blazing Saddles.

Karas also found huge success after he starred in the hit TV show Webster in the 80s.

On and off the field, Karras has an extensive legacy that can never be forgotten.


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