Alex Karras in hospice care suffering from kidney failure

Former Lions great Alex Karras is in failing health and currently in hospice care.

Karras, who played with the Lions from 1958-62 and then again from 1964-70 after sitting out a season for his role in a gambling scandal, is suffering from kidney failure and according to a report published Monday night in the Detroit Free Press, has been given a short amount of time to live.

Lions team president Tom Lewand issued the following statement Monday night:

"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," Lions President Tom Lewand said Monday night.  "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," Lewand said.  "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.

"We join his legions of fans from both sports and entertainment in prayer and support for Alex, his wife Susan, and his entire family during this most difficult time."

Karras was a force on the Lions defensive line who later starred on the big screen and television.  He gained notoriety for his roles in the movie "Blazing Saddles" and the television series "Webster."

Before joining the Lions, Karras starred at the University of Iowa, where he led the Hawkeyes to a Rose Bowl win over Oregon State following the 1956 season.

He was an All-American in 1956 and 1957, winner of the 1957 Outland Trophy as most outstanding lineman in the country and runner-up in the voting for 1957 Heisman Trophy.

Karras was selected by the Lions with the first round draft choice in 1958.   Over the course of a career during which he played 161 games, he was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and was named a member of the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1960s.

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