The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA), a membership-based fraternal organization of Hellenes and Philhellenes, celebrates the selection of former Detroit Lions great Alex Karras to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. Karras, a star for the Lions from 1958 – 1970, will be enshrined in the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in September of this year. AHEPA takes particular pride in Karras’ selection in that he is a member of the 1974 Inaugural Class of the AHEPA Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame.
Karras’ NFL exploits are second to none; he was named to the “All-Decade Team of the 1960’s” as the most dominant defensive lineman of his era, he was the tenth (10th) selection in the 1958 NFL Draft, after a sterling career at the University of Iowa, where he was a two-time All-American and second in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1957, the highest ranking ever for a defensive lineman. With the Detroit Lions, he was selected to the Pro Bowl four (4) times and was a three-time First Team All-Pro, leading the NFL in that era in sacking quarterbacks, recovering 17 fumbles and even intercepting 4 passes.
Known as the “Iron Man”, Karras missed only one game over twelve seasons. Every Greek-American sports fan applauds this much long overdue selection of Karras to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.
Karras is the patriarch of the most-esteemed Greek football family, in that he has later joined in the AHEPA Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame by his younger brothers, John and Ted, also former National Football League stars. Additionally, his grand-nephew, Ted Karras, just concluded a stellar season as the Center for the New England Patriots.
AHEPA Athletic Director, Chris Atsaves, applauded this selection: “Alex is one of the pillars of Greek-American athletics, being in the storied inaugural AHEPA Hall of Fame, Class of 74, joining the likes of Jim Londos, Milt Pappas, and Harry Agganis. We congratulate the Karras family, on behalf of the late great Alex”.
AHEPA Supreme President George Horiatis added: “All Greek-Americans who grew up loving sports, know that Alex Karras was the gold standard. He was the greatest defensive lineman of his era, and also wore his Greek heritage proudly on his sleeve. We are extremely proud and pleased that he received this wonderful recognition by the National Football League. I would also like to personally thank Greg Stamos and the AHEPA Athletics Committee for their perseverance and vision to drive this issue for AHEPA in recent years in order to keep Alex Karras’ memory alive and recognize him for all that he accomplished.”
AHEPA has long advocated for Karras’ inclusion in the Pro-Football Hall of Fame, and served as an official nominator and supporter of Karras’ candidacy to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame and its voting panel, when nominations opened in September 2019.
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