Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/9/12
A long-time friend of former Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras said Karras has suffered kidney failure and has only a few days to live, the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News reported Monday. Karras, 77, played for the Lions for 12 seasons between 1958 and 1970 and was named All-Pro three times. He later had a successful acting career in movies and television. Tom McInerney Sr. told both Detroit papers that Karras' wife, Susan Clark, called him last Wednesday and said he had kidney failure and only had a few days to live. Karras is currently in his California home with his family, and McInerney talked to Clark again on Monday. "She said if you came out here it wouldn't be worth his while because right now he's talking about he wants to see his (deceased) mother and dad, and he's on morphine, he's on oxygen. She said it's maybe a couple, three days at the most," McInerney told the Free Press. Karras had previously been diagnosed with dementia and is part of a lawsuit against the NFL regarding concussion-related illnesses. Lions president Tom Lewand released a statement Monday night regarding Karras."The entire Detroit Lions family is deeply saddened to learn of the news regarding the condition of one of our all-time greats, Alex Karras," Lewand said in the statement. "Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex. "We know Alex first and foremost as one of the cornerstones to our Fearsome Foursome defensive line of the 1960s and also as one of the greatest defensive linemen to ever play in the NFL. Many others across the country came to know Alex as an accomplished actor and as an announcer during the early years of Monday Night Football." Karras was a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1960s and his 161 games played are 15th most in Lions history. Karras became known for his role as Mongo in the 1974 comedy movie "Blazing Saddles." He later starred in the 1980s sitcom "Webster" alongside his wife.
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