ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Alex Karras

Sonja Greenfield, Senior NFL Reporter NFC North, NFC East

By Sonja Greenfield //@Mom23RN

Much like a lot of kids in the 80s, I watched Webster. My friends used to always say when I laughed, I sounded like him.  I loved it, and I was so taken aback when I found out that Webster was really older than the kid he played on TV.  It made me want a house with an elevator, and the episode when he burned the house down will stick with me forever.

Then, my parents made the mistake of introducing me to Blazing Saddles (great movie) and they told me that Mongo was Mr. Papadopoulos.

Years later, when I started paying attention to sports and more specifically the Lions, I found out that the beloved Mr. Papadopoulos/Mongo and Detroit Lion great Alex Karras were one and the same.

Alex Karras was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the first round in 1958 out of Iowa, where he was college football’s outstanding linebacker in 1957.  During his career, he was seen as a leader on the Detroit defense. He was part of the Fearsome Foursome on defense.

Three of the defenses that he played on finished 2nd in the league in points allowed. He was a very durable defensive tackle, and only missed one game during his 12 years as a player.

He also was suspended for a season due to gambling on sports, and that was thought to possibly delay him getting into the Hall of Fame earlier.

Karras was a member of the All-Decade team in the 1960s.  He was selected to four 4 Pro Bowls, made first-team All-Pro 3 times, and second team All-Pro 4 times.  In his career, he had 4 interceptions, 17 fumble recoveries, and a safety.

After he ended his career as a player, he went on to be a broadcaster on Monday Night Football, then after that, he got into acting.

Unfortunately, this Lion great passed away in October of 2012. He was a beloved member of the NFL world and the acting world.


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