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NFL Great Alex Karras Dies at 77

NFL's Detroit Lion's Great Alex Karras Dies at 77

Photo – Alex Karras - Lions

Former NFL defensive tackle Alex Karras passed away this Wednesday at the age of 77 from kidney failure after being diagnosed with dementia in recent years.

Karras was one of the NFL's best feared defensive tackles throughout the 1960s, coupling with Roger Brown to form a dominant inside tandem. Karras was a huge success after his 12 year NFL career as an actor, best known for his role in “Blazing Saddles” as Mongo and later as the lovable dad in the sitcom “Webster”.

Karras was a defender who hounded QBs, combining both quickness and power that earned him four Pro Bowl invitations over his 12 year career. He spent his entire NFL career with the Lions before retiring in 1970 at age 35.

He transcended football in a different way that rarely happens for players of any era. In addition to his movie and TV sitcom experience he made a successful transition to his acting career with a stint as a commentator on "Monday Night Football," working opposite the always verbose Howard Cosell and former Giant great Frank Gifford.

He died at home in Los Angeles surrounded by family members, said Craig Mitnick, Karras' attorney. "Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex," Lions president Tom Lewand said.

His death also will be tied to the NFL's conflict with former players over concussions. This past April, Karras joined the more than 3,500 NFL veterans suing the league for not protecting them better from head injuries. He became one of the best-known names in the legal fight that has caused the NFL to take new steps on addressing head injuries. Recently, his wife said Karras' quality of life had deteriorated because of head injuries sustained during his NFL playing career.

Mitnick said the family had not yet decided whether to donate Karras' brain for study, as other families have done. His wife Clark said her husband couldn't drive after loving to get behind the wheel and couldn't remember recipes for some of the favorite Italian and Greek dishes he used to cook.

"This physical beating that he took as a football player has impacted his life, and therefore it has impacted his family life," Clark told The Associated Press earlier this year. "He is interested in making the game of football safer and hoping that other families of retired players will have a healthier and happier retirement."

Clark has said he was formally diagnosed with dementia several years ago and has had symptoms for more than a dozen years. He joined hundreds of other former players suing the league.

Born in Gary, Ind., Karras starred for four years at Iowa. Detroit drafted Karras with the 10th overall pick in 1958, and he was a four-time All-Pro defensive tackle over 12 seasons with the franchise. He was the heart of the Lions' defensive line, terrorizing QBs for years. He will always be remembered for his performance when the Lions handed the powerful 1962 Green Bay Packers their only defeat that season in a 26-14 upset on Thanksgiving during which they harassed QB Bart Starr constantly.

He missed the 1963 season when he was suspended by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in a gambling probe. Karras was recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a defensive tackle on the All-Decade Team of the 1960s.

Karras later wrote an autobiography, "Even Big Guys Cry," and two other books, "Alex Karras" and "Tuesday Night Football." Lewand said Karras also loved to garden and cook.
Packers guard Jerry Kramer wrote in his diary of the 1967 season about his trepidation over having to play opposite Karras. Their one on one battles were legendary during the 1960s.

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 18 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

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CBS Radio Cleveland - Frank Coyle NFL Draft 2012 Interview

CBS Cleveland - April 2012
NFL Draft 2012
Interview with Frank Coyle

Alabama Holds Top Spot in Reshuffled Rankings

Top 25 Polls – AP and Coaches

Oct. 8, 2012

Photo – RB Marcus Lattimore - South Carolina

Coaches Poll - Top 25
Rank/ Team / Record / Points / Previous Week

1 Alabama 5-0 - 1
2 Oregon 6-0 - 2
3 South Carolina 6-0 - 6
4 West Virginia 5-0 - 7
5 Kansas St. 5-0 - 8
6 Florida 5-0 - 11
7 Notre Dame 5-0 - 10
8 LSU 5-1 - 3
9 USC 4-1 - 12
10 Oklahoma 3-1 - 14
11 Florida St. 5-1 - 4
12 Georgia 5-1 - 5
13 Clemson 5-1 - 15
14 Oregon St. 4-0 - 17
15 Texas 4-1 - 9
16 Louisville 5-0 - 16
17 Stanford 4-1 - 18
18 Mississippi St. 5-0 - 19
19 Rutgers 5-0 - 21
20 Cincinnati 4-0 - 23
21 Texas A&M 4-1 - NR
22 Boise St. 4-1 - 25
23 TCU 4-1 - 13
24 Louisiana Tech 5-0 - NR
25 Iowa St. 4-1 -NR

Schools Dropped Out
No. 20 Nebraska (4-2), No. 22 Northwestern (5-1), No. 24 Texas Tech (4-1).

Others Receiving Votes
Arizona State (4-1) 61; Baylor (3-1) 52; Michigan (3-2) 33; Northwestern (5-1) 31; Michigan State (4-2) 27; Ohio (6-0) 23; Nebraska (4-2) 18; Texas Tech (4-1) 11; Duke (5-1) 10; Wisconsin (4-2) 8; Western Kentucky (4-1) 7; Louisiana-Lafayette (4-1) 6; North Carolina State (4-2) 6; Oklahoma State (2-2) 5; San Jose State (4-1) 4; Louisiana-Monroe (3-2) 3; Nevada (5-1) 2; Toledo (5-1) 2.

AP Top 25 Poll
Rank/ Team / Record / 1st Place Votes / Previous Week

1 Alabama 5-0 (60) 1
2 Oregon 6-0 - 2
3 South Carolina 6-0 - 6
4 Florida 5-0 - 10
5 West Virginia 5-0 - 8
6 Kansas St. 5-0 - 7
7 Notre Dame 5-0 - 9
8 Ohio St. 6-0 - 12
9 LSU 5-1 - 4
10 Oregon St. 4-0 - 14
11 USC 4-1 - 13
12 Florida St. 5-1 - 3
13 Oklahoma 3-1 - 17
14 Georgia 5-1 - 5
15 Texas 4-1 - 11
16 Clemson 5-1 - 15
17 Stanford 4-1 - 18
18 Louisville 5-0 - 19
19 Mississippi St. 5-0 - 20
20 Rutgers 5-0 - 22
21 Cincinnati 4-0 - NR
22 Texas A&M 4-1 - NR
23 Louisiana Tech 5-0 - NR
24 Boise St. 4-1 - NR
25 Michigan 3-2 82 0 NR

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 18 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

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Crimson Tide Dominates AP & Coaches Top 25 Polls

Crimson Tide Dominates Top 25 Polls

Draft Insiders’ - NFL Draft Pro Prospect Preview will be available next week. Order Today!

Photo - LB Manti Te’O - Notre Dame

AP Poll - Sept 18, 2012
RANK / NAME / W-L / Previous

1 Alabama 3-0 (58) 1
2 LSU 3-0 3
3 Oregon 3-0 4
4 Florida St. 3-0 5
5 Georgia 3-0 7
6 Oklahoma 2-0 5
7 South Carolina 3-0 8
8 West Virginia 2-0 9
9 Stanford 3-0 21
10 Clemson 3-0 11
11 Notre Dame 3-0 20
12 Texas 3-0 14
13 USC 2-1 2
14 Florida 3-0 18
15 Kansas St. 3-0 15
16 Ohio St. 3-0 12
17 TCU 2-0 16
18 Michigan 2-1 17
19 UCLA 3-0 22
20 Louisville 3-0 19
21 Michigan St. 2-1 10
22 Arizona 3-0 24
23 Mississippi St. 3-0 NR
24 Boise St. 1-1 NR
25 Nebraska 2-1 NR

Coaches Poll

Rank / Team / Record / Last week
1.Alabama - (54) - 3-0 / 1
2.LSU - (5) - 3-0 / 2
3.Oregon - 3-0 / 4
4.Florida State - 3-0 / 6
5.Oklahoma - 2-0 / 5
6.Georgia - 3-0 / 7
7. West Virginia - 2-0 / 8
8. South Carolina - 3-0 / 9
9. Clemson - 3-0 / 11
10.Texas - 3-0 / 12
11.Stanford - 3-0/ 16
12.Southern California - 2-1 / 3
13.Kansas State - 3-0 / 14
14.Florida - 3-0 / 17
15.Notre Dame - 3-0 / 19
16.TCU - 2-0 / 15
17.Michigan - 2-1 / 18
18.Louisville - 3-0 / 20
19.UCLA - 3-0 / 23
20.Michigan State - 2-1 / 10
21.Arizona - 3-0 / 25
22.Nebraska - 2-1 / 24
23.Mississippi State - 3-0 / NR
24.Wisconsin - 2-1 / 22
25.Oklahoma State - 2-1 / NR

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

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DraftInsiders.com 2012 Preseason Top 25 Teams

DraftInsiders.com 2012 Preseason Top 25 Teams

Photo – QB Denard Robinson - Michigan

Alabama is our No. 1 team in our Top 25 Preseason poll in a close voting with USC and LSU. The Crimson Tide is the current defending national champion after continuing the SEC reign with six consecutive national titles.

Draft Insiders’ Digest Top 25 Teams
RK TEAM RECORD
1 Alabama - 0-0
2 USC - 0-0
3 LSU - 0-0
4 Georgia - 0-0
5 Oregon - 0-0
6 West Virginia 0-0
7 Oklahoma - 0-0
8 Arkansas - 0-0
9 Wisconsin - 0-0
10 Michigan State - 0-0
11 Florida State - 0-0
12 Texas - 0-0
13 Michigan - 0-0
14 South Carolina - 0-0
15 Clemson - 0-0
16 Virginia Tech - 0-0
17 Nebraska - 0-0
18 Ohio State - 0-0
19 Oklahoma State - 0-0
20 TCU - 0-0
21 Stanford - 0-0
22 Kansas State - 0-0
23 Florida - 0-0
24 Boise State - 0-0
25 Notre Dame 0-0

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 18 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

Senior Bowl Unveils First Ever Watch List

Senior Bowl Unveils First Ever Watch List
SEC leads all conferences with 71 players, 114 schools represented

Mobile, AL. —The Senior Bowl will once again have a wide range of talent to choose from when selecting the top senior college football players for its annual showcase event. The nation’s premier all-star game unveiled its first ever “Watch List” today, highlighting 309 seniors and top NFL draft prospects from 114 different schools to keep an eye on during the 2012 college football season.

The top 100 seniors in the country will be invited to participate in the 2013 Senior Bowl, set for Saturday, January 26th in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Appearing on the Watch List is not a requirement for a player to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

“The Senior Bowl is very pleased to announce our first-ever ‘official’ Watch List,” Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage said. “We want both college and pro football fans to enjoy tracking the players on our list as they begin their journey towards the Senior Bowl and the 2013 NFL Draft. We have included prospects from almost every level of the college game and look forward to monitoring their progress throughout the upcoming season.”

The Southeastern Conference, winners of the last six BCS National Championships, leads all conferences with 71 players on the list. Alabama, Georgia and Nebraska are all tied with the most players on the list with nine a piece. The Big Ten has the second highest amount of players on the Watch List with 46. Among those seniors is 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball of Wisconsin. The running back led the nation with 1,923 yards and 33 touchdowns a year ago. Other high profile players featured on the list are USC quarterback Matt Barkley, Utah defensive lineman Star Lotulelei and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.

“This 2013 draft class has a solid cross-section of quarterbacks, from names like Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson to other relative unknowns like Alex Carder (Western Michigan) and Zac Dysert (Miami-OH). There also appears to be quality depth at the center and guard spots on offense, along the defensive line (both DT and DE) and at safety on defense,” Savage said.

The Senior Bowl Watch List also includes 29 players from non-FBS schools. The showcase event has a long-standing tradition of featuring smaller school standouts, with seven FCS and Division II players on last year’s roster alone. Elon wide receiver Aaron Mellette, who led the FCS in receptions per game (10.27) and receiving yards per game (149.0) in 2011, is among those smaller school standouts that has caught Savage’s eye.
“I've seen three games on Aaron from last year and he is a legitimate NFL prospect with size and athleticism. Elon plays North Carolina this year and everyone can't wait to see how he performs against a higher level of competition,” Savage said of Mellette.

Invitations for the 2013 Senior Bowl will be begin being extended in the next few weeks and continue throughout the 2012 season. Tickets for the 2013 Senior Bowl are currently available for purchase at the Senior Bowl ticket office (151 Dauphin Street), online at www.seniorbowl.com or by calling (251) 432-4109.

2013 Senior Bowl Watch List Breakdown

By Conference
SEC: 71
Big 10: 46
ACC: 43
Pac 12: 31
Big 12: 29
FCS/Div. II: 29
Big East: 15
CUSA: 10
Sun Belt: 11
WAC: 8
MWC: 6
IND: 5
MAC: 5

By Position
QB: 21
OH: 20
WO: 31
OL: 44
TE: 18
FB: 5

DT: 32
DE: 22
DC: 35
DS: 30
ILB: 13
OLB: 22
PK: 8
PT: 6
LS: 2

By School (top 6)
Alabama: 9
Georgia: 9
Nebraska: 9
Arkansas: 8
LSU: 8
Ohio State: 8

For the 2013 Senior Bowl Player Watch List go to www.seniorbowl.com

About the Senior Bowl
The Senior Bowl is college football’s premier senior showcase event, annually featuring the nation’s best senior collegiate football stars and top NFL draft prospects on teams coached by NFL coaching staffs. Senior Bowl practices and game week festivities are attended by more than 800 general managers, head coaches, assistant coaches, scouts and other front office personnel from all 32 National Football League teams, making Mobile and the Senior Bowl the week-long host to a one-of-a-kind NFL Coaches Convention. For more information on the 2013 Senior Bowl please visit the bowl’s website at www.seniorbowl.com.

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2012 Associated Press Preseason Top 25 Poll

2012 AP Preseason Top 25 Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses and total points received)

DraftInsiders.com will post our 2012 Preseason Top 25 Teams in late August.

Photo – QB Matt Barkley - Southern Cal

Southern California is No. 1 in the AP Top 25, tossing off the weight of NCAA sanctions and returning to a familiar place in the rankings -- with a boost from LSU's problems.
USC earned the top spot in The Associated Press' preseason college football poll for the seventh time in school history and the first time in five seasons, edging out No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 LSU.

The Trojans, who were banned from postseason play the past two seasons, received 25 of a possible 60 first-place votes from a media panel in a close vote. USC received 1,445 points. Defending national champion Alabama had 17 first-place votes and 1,411 points while LSU, the Crimson Tide's SEC rival, got 16 first-place votes and 1,402 points. Oklahoma and Michigan each received 1 first place vote to complete the 60 overall first place votes.

Associated Press Top 25 Teams
Rank / Team / Record / Points

1 USC (25) - 0-0 1445
2 Alabama (17) - 0-0 1411
3 LSU (16) - 0-0 1402
4 Oklahoma (1) - 0-0 1286
5 Oregon - 0-0 1274
6 Georgia - 0-0 1107
7 Florida State - 0-0 1093
8 Michigan (1) - 0-0 1000
9 South Carolina - 0-0 994
10 Arkansas - 0-0 963
11 West Virginia - 0-0 856
12 Wisconsin - 0-0 838
13 Michigan State - 0-0 742
14 Clemson - 0-0 615
15 Texas - 0-0 569
16 Virginia Tech - 0-0 548
17 Nebraska - 0-0 485
18 Ohio State - 0-0 474
19 Oklahoma State - 0-0 430
20 TCU - 0-0 397
21 Stanford - 0-0 383
22 Kansas State - 0-0 300
23 Florida - 0-0 214
24 Boise State - 0-0 212
25 Louisville - 0-0 105

Others receiving votes:
Notre Dame 83, Washington 55, Auburn 53, North Carolina 32, Utah 30, Georgia Tech 25, Brigham Young 22, Tennessee 15, South Florida 11, Baylor 9, Texas A&M 5, UCF 4, Missouri 3, North Carolina State 3, Cincinnati 3, Houston 1, Louisiana Tech 1, Mississippi State 1, Northern Illinois 1

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 18 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

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