Lions great Wayne Walker dies at 80
Walker, a linebacker and a kicker out of the University of Idaho, was a three-time Pro Bowler
Wayne Walker, the former Detroit Lions linebacker and kicker who made three Pro Bowls in the 1960s, passed away on Friday. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Walker died due to complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 80.
Walker is survived by his wife, three children, and eight grandchildren.
"On behalf of my family and the Detroit Lions, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Wayne's wife, Sylvia, and to his children, Steve, Doug and Kathy," Lions owner Martha Ford said in a statement, per the team's website. "Wayne was one of our finest players from the decade of the 60s and will not only be remembered for his career accomplishments as a Lion, but also for his great success as a broadcaster after his playing days were over."
Walker was drafted by the team in the fourth round of the 1958 NFL Draft out of the University of Idaho. He ended up spending his entire 15-year career with the Lions as both a linebacker and a kicker. He made 53 field goals and 172 extra points as a kicker, and notched 14 interceptions as a linebacker. According to the team's website, he became the first player in Lions' history to play in 200 games and ranks second in seasons played and third in games played with exactly 200. In his career, he was voted to three Pro Bowls. He won Lions defensive MVP in 1968.
After his playing days, Walker became a broadcaster for CBS, the sports director for KPIX in San Francisco, and an analyst for 49ers radio broadcasts.
"He was the best," Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana told the Chronicle. "He did things the right way that allowed him to get answers and trust from players that no one else could."
"Fifteen years, as a historian of the game and knowing as much as I know about the game, that's rare air," Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott added.
According to the Lions' website, funeral arrangements are pending.
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