Alex Karras, an All-Pro defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions who later worked as a "Monday Night Football" co-host and parlayed his hulking strength into a Hollywood acting career, died Wednesday. He was 77.
Karras died at his Los Angeles home, his attorney Craig Mitnick said. Karras had suffered kidney failure days earlier, the latest in a variety of health problems that included dementia and cancer.
He was one of more than 3,500 former NFL players who are suing the league in a dispute over concussion-related injuries.
A dominant fixture on Detroit's defensive front for 12 seasons, Karras was known to millions for his role as "Mongo," the monosyllabic, horse-punching brute in the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy "Blazing Saddles." He later starred in the ABC sitcom "Webster," which ran from 1983 to 1987.
Although he stood 6 feet 3, the 248-pound Karras was wide enough to be stocky, and he routinely fought his way past blockers at the line of scrimmage to burst into the offensive backfield. He was named to four Pro Bowls, and was also named All-Pro – an even more exclusive honor – four times. The Lions named him to their All-Decade Team for the 1960s.
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