How we'll remember Alex Karras
10:56 AM, October 10, 2012 |
By Tom Panzenhagen
Detroit Free Press Sports Writer
â¢ Drafted out of Iowa in 1958, the defensive tackle was listed at 6-feet-2 and 248 pounds, small by todayâs standards (Ndamukong Suh is 6-4, 307) â and he wore glasses.
â¢ First- or second-team all-pro every year during the 1960s, except for one.
â¢ 1963: Suspended, along with Green Bay running back Paul Hornung, for one season for gambling on NFL games. (Hornung elected to Hall of Fame in 1986; Karras hasnât been.)
â¢ Missed one game in 12 pro seasons, ending in 1970.
â¢ Lost his last Lions game by the oddest of scores, 5-0, to Dallas in the first round of the â70 playoffs.
â¢ Reported to training camp in 1971 but was released by his old pal and then-Lions coach Joe Schmidt; playing career over at age 35
â¢ Took up professional wrestling before he signed with the Lions and returned to it when suspended for the 1963 season. Memorable bouts included ones with Dick the Bruiser.
â¢ Part owner of the Lindell AC, a sports bar in downtown Detroit.
â¢ In 1968, he and teammates played themselves in âPaper Lion,â the movie version of George Plimptonâs book in which Plimpton tried out with the Lions.
â¢ Starting in 1970, displayed a dry sense of humor and gained notoriety during repeat appearances on âThe Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.â
â¢ Played Mongo in Mel Brooksâ âBlazing Saddlesâ in 1974.
â¢ Color commentator on âMonday Night Football,â 1974-76.
â¢ Played George Zaharias opposite Susan Clark in the TV movie âBabeâ (1975), the story of Babe Didrickson.
â¢ Karras and Clark married in 1980.
â¢ Starred in the TV sitcom âWebsterâ with Clark and Emmanuel Lewis, 1983-89.
â¢ Hosted âSaturday Night Liveâ in 1985.
â¢ Returned to Detroit in 2003 for the 40th anniversary of the publication of âPaper Lion,â appearing with, among others, Plimpton, Schmidt, Lem Barney, Ron Kramer, Mike Lucci and Earl Morrall. But the loudest cheers at Ford Field were for the famed Fearsome Foursome defensive line of Karras, Roger Brown, Darris McCord and Sam Williams.