Karras was a four-time All-Pro with the Lions, but may be better known for his career after football, when he became an actor. His career with the Lions spanned from 1958 through 1970, where he was a feared defensive tackle.
As an actor, he starred on the TV sitcom "Webster" and played the famous role of Mongo in the Mel Brooks comedy "Blazing Saddles" among other roles. Karras also served as a commentator on Monday Night Football for three years in the 1970s. Lions president Tom Lewand said, "Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex."
Karras was diagnosed with dementia several years ago and was one of the more than 3,500 former players suing the NFL. It was reported that he was diagnosed with kidney failure and given only a few days to live on Monday. Karras died at his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday surrounded by his family.