Alex Karras, a former All-Pro defensive lineman with the Detroit Lions who later went on to be a member of the three-man broadcasting team for Monday Night Football and later on co-starred in the 1980s sitcom Webster, passed away on Wednesday morning at his Los Angeles home at age 77.
Mr. Karras had suffered from kidney failure and was diagnosed with dementia. He also suffered from heart disease and, over the past two years stomach cancer.
During his 12-year career with the Lions, Alex (who was the 10th overall draft selection from Iowa in 1958) was a four-time All-Pro defensive tackle and anchored the Detroit defense.
After his playing days ended (he retired in 1970), Alex was part of ABC's Monday Night Football three-man booth (1974-76), alongside play-by-play man Frank Gifford and fellow analyst Howard Cosell.
It was on one telecast that Alex first regarded then-Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Otis Sistrunk as that graduate from the "University of Mars."
Alex also appeared in motion pictures and slugged a horse in the Mel Brooks-directed Western comedy and satire "Blazing Saddles," which starred Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, and Harvey Korman.
It was in the 1980s that Alex Karras co-starred with Emmanuel Lewis in the ABC Network sitcom Webster, where Alex and his wife (his real-life wife Susan Clark) adapted little Emmanuel as their son. The series ran on ABC from 1983-1987, then two more years in first-run syndication.
This past April, Alex joined the more than 3500 veterans suing the NFL for not protecting them better from head injuries. His passing will now be connected with the league's conflict with its' former players over concussions.