Sports Karras cared more about making Hall of Fame than he let on

00:12  22 july  2021
00:12  22 july  2021 Source:   msn.com

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He made four Pro Bowls and was a three-time first-team All-Pro player with the Lions, but he also missed the 1963 season while serving a suspension for gambling. Many believe that suspension is what kept Karras from Canton while he was alive, though Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung In two of his biggest roles, he played Mongo in the 1974 film "Blazing Saddles" and then George Papadopolis, the father of the title character in the 1980s TV show "Webster." "We would like to congratulate the entire Karras family on the selection of Alex into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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a group of baseball players playing a game of football © Provided by The Canadian Press

A dozen NFL seasons packed with All-Pro roughhousing, easy celebrity and lots of laughs would be a fulsome career for any man. That was just Alex Karras’ opening act.

Karras was a natural in front of the camera, whether crumpling quarterbacks on a muddy field in Detroit or spilling locker-room secrets across the desk from Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show.” After his final season in 1970, he didn’t stay benched for long.

Karras put that tough-guy image and excellent timing to good use, launching a second career that introduced him to a new generation. He was a part-time pro wrestler, sportscaster, popular TV series guest, co-star of a hit sitcom, “Webster,” and all the while, a movie actor with credits ranging from “Against All Odds” to “Victor/Victoria” and perhaps most memorably to “Blazing Saddles.”

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He might make the Hall of Fame and the way he was willing to keep playing without being an MVP-kind-of-level guy anymore.” Stephen A. Smith, king of oddball hot takes, nodded in agreement. For years now the 35-year-old’s position in the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been viewed as a lock. It doesn’t matter if the 11-time Pro Bowl selection plays five more years or if he retires tomorrow ( he signed a one-year contract extension in January). What he has done on the field is nothing short of Hall quality.

For a second he fell _ it, until I told him that if he was on the radio we could turn it off!!! if you care about your _too much , people might start to think you vain. Many fashion journalists criticised the actress _ arriving at the oscars in a second-hand dress.

For all the acclaim that followed, Karras died at age 77 in 2012 without one of the honors he coveted most: a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Better late than never, Karras will be formally enshrined as part of the Hall’s Centennial Class of 2020. During a small ceremony at Canton, Ohio, in April, Hall officials unveiled the bronze bust of Karras and handed it to his grandson.

“They let my son, Demos, lift it and place it on the spot where it will always be,” Carolyn Karras, one of Alex’s six children, said in a recent interview. “It brought a lot of closure.

“He knew he was good enough. To finally be in there with all those people,” she added, “I’m sure he’s very happy about it.”

Karras’ installment should put to rest years of speculation about why he wasn’t inducted sooner. Despite being one of the game’s most-feared defensive tackles, some suggested the three-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler was hamstrung by a run of bad Lions teams and only one playoff performance. Others said Karras’ criticism of team owners and his running battles with then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle may have played a role, too. Most agreed that his nearly year-long suspension in 1963 for betting on NFL games -- along with Green Bay Packers star running back Paul Hornung – made Karras a complicated choice. He didn’t help matters by refusing to show much contrition.

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" Hall Of Fame " lyrics. The Script Lyrics. will.i.am (The Black Eyed Peas), who is featured on this song, wanted to have it for himself when he first heard its demo from the frontman Danny O'Donoghue, but since it was The Script's lead single for their third album, O'Donoghue offered will.i.am to make a duet instead. Danny O'Donoghue said that the song was mostly about the band, about how not to pursue fame just because of fame .

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“He believed in fairness and he said what needed to be said, whether it was appropriate or not,” Carolyn Karras said. “And I’m not sure how, but I got this picture of him going into the hall stuck in my head. So I started finding out who the voters were. Two or three got back to me early on and were a great help.

“My argument was, ‘He bet on games, but never on his own team, and he wouldn’t kiss Pete Rozelle’s ass. So? Not every guy in the Hall of Fame lived a Hall of Fame life. C’mon, give him another look.’”

Her own football memories are snapshots from childhood: “Thanksgiving Day, in front of a tiny black-and-white TV. … Walking behind him on bring-your-kid-to-training-camp day. … Everybody looked big. But he looked enormous.”

Playing at 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, Karras was indeed big for his time but small in comparison to NFL linemen today. His versatility, though, would have been a boon in any era.

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“What is a Hall of Famer now? Is it a guy who played a long time?” Sanders said. “It’s so skewed now. Once upon a time, a Hall of Famer was a player who changed the darn game, who made you want to reach in your pocket and pay your admission to see that guy play. I can’t even recall 1 season where he was the best at his position. I’d rather see someone like Bo Jackson in. Short awesomeness and domination to me means more than longevity of good. Is anyone really gonna say, “Man you should have seen Gore play!”

The TV Blackout by Art Buchwald. A week ago Sunday New York city had a blackout and all nine television stations in the area went out for several hours. This created tremendous crises in families all over New York and proved that TV plays a much greater role in people's lives than anyone can imagine. "Where is she?" "She got married a year ago, just about the time you were watching the World Series." "You know," Bufkins said, very pleased. "I hope they don't fix the antenna for another couple hours. There's nothing better than a blackout for a man who really wants to know his family."

“There is no other tackle like him,” Doug Van Horn of the New York Giants, a frequent opponent, said in 1969. “He has inside and outside moves, a bull move where he puts his head down and runs over you, or he’ll just stutter step you like a ballet dancer.”

Karras, the son of a Greek immigrant doctor and a Canadian nurse, grew up in Gary, Indiana and seemed destined to play football. Two older brothers, Lou and Ted, made the NFL ahead of Alex, and after a rough start at Iowa, he won the Outland Trophy his senior year, and the Lions made him the 10th overall pick in the 1958 draft. He turned out to be as dominant in the pros as he’d been in college.

Late in life, Karras struggled with dementia, as well as heart disease and cancer, and joined 3,500 other former players in filing concussion-related lawsuits against the NFL.

“Honestly, I thought he’d quit caring about the game a long time ago. But just before I went to Canton, my brother George told me a story,” Carolyn Karras said. “They were at Dad’s house in Malibu and watching a Dodgers game. It was a couple of years before he died. And at one point, Dad tells George, ‘I can guarantee you two things that will never happen:

“One, the Cubbies won’t win a World Series; and two, I won’t ever make it into the Hall of Fame.’”

Karras was wrong on both counts.


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Jim Litke, The Associated Press

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