by Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
Friends of Alex Karras say the former Lions great suffered kidney
failure in the last two weeks and has been given only a few days to
Tom McInerney, owner of McInerney's Woodhaven Chrysler
Dodge Jeep Ram and a friend of Karras' since the 1950s, said Karras'
wife, Susan Clark, told him of her husband's failing health in a
15-minute phone call this morning.
"I got a call from Susan last
Wednesday or Thursday that he was in the hospital," McInerney said.
"(His kidneys) gave out on him and legs swelled up and his ankles
swelled up and arms, so she said it doesn't look good. They figured
probably a couple weeks.tr
"He said, 'I want to go home,' so
knowing Alex she made arrangements for him. She talked to me Saturday
morning waiting for the ambulance to take him home with her daughter and
she was going to let me know. Well, I couldn't get in touch with her
yesterday or Saturday and she called me this morning, said, 'It doesn't
look too good, Tommy. They're talking probably a couple days.'
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."
The 77-year-old Karras has suffered from
a variety of health problems in recent years, including dementia and
cancer, and is part of the mass concussion lawsuit more than 3,000
former players have filed against the NFL.
general manager of Clark Karras Properties, said Karras was released
from Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., over the
weekend and is currently at his California home on hospice care.
His sons George and Alex Jr., and daughter Katie, are by his side, and another son Peter is en route to California.
"He is, as Susan said to me, in transition," Lincoln said. "Certainly all prayers and good wishes are appreciated."
Karras played defensive tackle for the Lions from 1958-70 and
followed with a successful acting career. He starred as Mongo in the
movie "Blazing Saddles" and in the 1980s sitcom "Webster," where Clark
was his TV wife.
"If there's a miracle out there you have to call
upon it," said Hall-of-Fame linebacker Joe Schmidt, Karras' former
teammate with the Lions. "It's one of those things I've gone through
with quite a few guys I played with have passed. It's like losing a
brother or a loved one because you've had so much contact with them and
knowing their families and knowing their kids, knowing all the emotional
things that happen in football, it's difficult to explain to people."
Lions president Tom Lewand released this statement tonight:
entire Detroit Lions family is deeply saddened to learn of the news
regarding the condition of one of our all-time greats, Alex Karras.
Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and
notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex.
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.
"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
Detroit Free Press