By The Associated Press
DETROIT — Alex Karras was a man of many roles.
Fearsome NFL defensive lineman. Lovable TV dad in “Webster.” Hilarious big-screen cowboy in “Blazing Saddles.”
And in the end, a dementia victim who blamed the NFL for his illness along with thousands of former players in lawsuits accusing the league of not doing enough to protect them from the long-term effects of head injuries.
The 77-year-old Karras, who managed to be tough, touching and tragic in the span of a lifetime, died Wednesday at his Los Angeles home surrounded by family members, said Craig Mitnick, Karras’ attorney.
Karras was one of the NFL’s most ferocious — and best — defensive tackles for the Detroit Lions from 1958-70, bulling past offensive lineman and hounding quarterbacks.