Creekmur dies at 82

Updated: July 6, 2009, 7:33 PM ET
Associated Press

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Hall of Fame offensive lineman Lou Creekmur, who starred on the Detroit Lions' three NFL championship teams of the 1950s, died Sunday. He was 82.

The Lions said Creekmur, in failing health in recent years, died at University Hospital in Tamarac, Florida.

Creekmur played for the Lions from 1950-59, mostly at left tackle. He made eight straight Pro Bowl teams, was picked to the All-NFL team six times and was chosen for the Lions' 75th Anniversary Team in 2008.

Creekmur was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996, joining Lions teammates including Bobby Layne, Joe Schmidt, Doak Walker and Yale Lary.

"Lou always will be remembered as one of the true standout players in Lions history," Lions president Tom Lewand said Monday. "Offensive linemen often don't get the credit they deserve and, until his induction into the Hall of Fame, that certainly was the case with Lou. If you look at the number of All-NFL and Pro Bowl teams he was selected to, and at the success of the Lions' teams when he played, you know that Lou was one of the all-time great linemen in NFL history."

Creekmur was a second-round draft pick in 1950 out of William & Mary. He served in the Army in 1945 and '46 before returning to college.

"Bobby [Layne] had a nickname for everyone and Lou's was 'The Spirit,'" Lary noted of Creekmur's tenacious style of play. "That group in the '50s was special and I don't think will ever be equaled. Lou was a real team player and an important part of those teams."

Survivors include his wife of 33 years, Caroline; a daughter, three sons, two stepdaughters and a sister.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press