You might remember him as a Hawkeye. You might remember him as a Lion. And, hey, you might remember him as Mongo from “Blazing Saddles.”
The point is you remember Alex Karras, who died today at the age of 77.
Here’s a statement from the UI and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who, I believe, tried to recruit his grandson, Teddy, who ended up at Illinois.
Also, here’s a link to the New York Times obit.
FORMER HAWKEYE ALEX KARRAS PASSES AWAY
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Former University of Iowa All-America defensive lineman Alex Karras passed away Wednesday. He was 77.
“All of us associated with the Iowa football program are saddened to hear of the passing of Alex Karras, and extend our condolences to the entire Karras family,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “Alex played a key role in the success of Iowa football during his career and will always be remembered as a leader of the great Iowa teams of that era. He served as an outstanding representative of Hawkeye football and the University of Iowa throughout his career.”
Karras was a standout defensive tackle for the Hawkeyes in 1956 and 1957. The native of Gary, Ind., earned All-America honors as a junior and was a consensus All-American as a senior. He earned the Outland Trophy in 1957 as the top lineman in the nation, and was second in voting for the 1957 Heisman Trophy. Karras and the Hawkeyes posted a 16-2-1 record in two seasons, concluding the 1956 season with a 35-19 win over Oregon State in the Rose Bowl and a 9-1 overall record.
Karras was the 10th player selected in the 1958 NFL Draft. He played his entire NFL career (1958-70) for the Detroit Lions, earning All-Pro recognition and being selected for the Pro Bowl four times.
Karras was inducted into the Iowa Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1989 and was inducted into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.