Continued from page 1

“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, who also played the wife of Karras‘ loveable character on “Webster,” 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.

“It’s the same thing as back in the gladiator days when the gladiators fought to death,” Mitnick, who represents Karras and hundreds of others in the suit, has said. “Fans care about these guys when they’re playing, and they are heroes. But as soon as you’re not a hero and not playing, the fan doesn’t really care what happens to them.”

The NFL has said it did not intentionally seek to mislead players and has taken action to better protect players and to advance the science of concussion management and treatment.

Karras played his entire NFL career with the Lions before retiring in 1970 at age 35. He was a first-team All-Pro in 1960, 1961 and 1965, and he made the Pro Bowl four times. 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.

He was born and raised in Gary, Ind., and was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1976.

“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.’”

AP sports columnist Tim Dahlberg and AP pro football writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.