Detroit Lions lose second franchise legend in seven days

By Alex Butler  |  May 19, 2017 at 8:20 PM
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May 19 (UPI) -- It has been a rough week for Detroit Lions fans as two franchise greats have died in the last seven days.

On Friday the Lions lost former All-Pro linebacker Wayne Walker at 80-years-old. Walker's death comes shortly after the passing of Hall of Fame defensive back Yale Lary, who died on May 12 at 86-years-old.

"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 and chairman Martha Firestone Ford said in team statement.

"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 a fourth round pick in the 1958 NFL Draft out of Idaho. He played linebacker, center and kicker. Walker played a team record 200 games for the Lions, before that record was broken in 2004 by Jason Hanson. He made three Pro Bowls and ranks No. 8 in team history with 345 points scored. He also had two returns for touchdowns, 53 field goals and 172 PATs. He also had 14 interceptions as a linebacker.

Walker led Detroit in scoring in 1962, 1964 and 1965. He was also a broadcaster for CBS and the sports director for KPIX in San Francisco after his 15-year playing career. He is survived by his wife Sylvia, two sons and a daughter.

Lary died last week while at his home in Fort Worth, Texas.

"On behalf of my family and The Detroit Lions, I would like to extend my deepest, personal sympathies to Mary Jane and to his children Yale, Jr. and Nancy Jane on the passing of Yale," Firestone Ford said May 12.

"As his Hall of Fame career indicates, Yale truly was one of our all-time great players and one of the greatest of his generation. As good as he was on the field, he also was a genuinely wonderful person, one whose company and friendship Mr. Ford and I greatly cherished."

The class of 1979 Hall of Famer was a member of the Lions' NFL World Championship teams in 1952, 1953 and 1957. Lary was a third round pick in the 1952 NFL Draft. He did a tour of duty in the Army in 1954 and 1955.

Both players were members of the Lions' 75th Season All-Time Team.

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