Alex Karras, NFL great (and Mongo), dies at 77

Alex Karras, who played tackle for the Detroit Lions for 12 seasons in the 1950s and ’60s, died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 77.

Though not a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was named by the Hall to the All Decade Team for the 1960s as defensive tackle.

Karras said that during his best year in the NFL, he made $9,000.

But Karras had another career that proved more lucrative than football.

That’s him as Mongo in “Blazing Saddles.” He also did pretty well in television, as one of the commentators for “Monday Night Football,” and as the adoptive father of Emanuel Lewis in the TV show “Webster.”

According to the New York Times, he suffered from kidney disease, heart disease stomach cancer and dementia. The dementia was a result of his NFL career.

According to the Washington Post:

In April, he became the lead plaintiff in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. He is among about 3,500 retired football players who accuse the league of not protecting them better from head injuries.

Mongo just a pawn in the game of life. But Karras’s life was surely fascinating.

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