According to CNN, former Iowa Hawkeye and Detroit Lion defensive lineman Alex Karras died Wednesday morning at his home in Los Angeles. Karras was 77 years old.
Karras is well-known to Iowa football fans as an Outland Trophy-winning lineman and Heisman Trophy runner-up. He frequently clashed with coach Forest Evashevski, and refused to return to Iowa after graduating. Karras went on to play twelve seasons with the Detroit Lions, and was later inducted to the Iowa Athletics and College Football Halls of Fame. He is better known by many for his post-football career in movies and television. Karras played the iconic character Mongo in Blazing Saddles and George Papadapolis on the TV series "Webster".
In recent years, Karras suffered from dementia. He was a party to a class action suit brought by former NFL players against the league for medical issues related to repeated head trauma. He was also diagnosed with stomach cancer and kidney disease.