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Former NFL coach Chuck Knox dies

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The Sports Xchange
Former NFL coach Chuck Knox (R) takes a photo with current Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (L). Knox died after a lengthy battle with illness. He was 86. Photo courtesy of Seattle Seahawks/Twitter
Former NFL coach Chuck Knox (R) takes a photo with current Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (L). Knox died after a lengthy battle with illness. He was 86. Photo courtesy of Seattle Seahawks/Twitter

Former NFL coach Chuck Knox died after a lengthy battle with illness. He was 86.

The exact cause of death has not been divulged, but he reportedly suffered from dementia over the past few years.

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Knox's granddaughter, Lee Ann, confirmed his passing Sunday morning on Twitter.

Known as "Ground Chuck" for his team's emphasis on running the ball, Knox is best remembered for coaching the Los Angeles Rams (1973-77, 1992-94), Buffalo Bills (1978-82), Seattle Seahawks (1983-91).

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He recorded a 186-147 record in the regular season. His clubs, however, combined for just a 7-11 mark in the playoffs.

Knox was the first coach to take the Seahawks to the playoffs. He amassed 80 victories with the club, becoming its winningest coach until he was surpassed by Mike Holmgren in 2007.

Knox was a three-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year (1973, 1980, 1984) and was also inducted into the Seahawks' Ring of Honor on Sept. 25, 2005.

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"RIP Popster. I'll miss you forever. You have always been my dad. You gave me more guidance, hope, encouragement than anyone ever has. I will treasure you forever. No one else will ever compare," granddaughter Lee Ann posted on Twitter.

Knox started his NFL career as an offensive line coach with the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions.

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John Turney posted a story on Pro Football Journal early Sunday morning recalling a memorable exchange involving Knox, as told to him via former Rams linebacker Jack Youngblood.

"Jack Youngblood once told me this story -- In 1976 during what would now be called a rookie camp Youngblood walked up to Knox who was watching a field full of rookie draft picks and free agents practice. Knox, with his steely gaze set towards the action, muttered to Youngblood, 'They switched the baby.' Youngblood had no clue what he was talking about, asked Knox what he meant. Knox nodded toward the Rams' first-round draft choice Kevin McLain and said, 'McLain ... they switched the baby. They told me he was 6-3, 230. He's barely 6-1 and not even 220.'

"When I met Knox I asked him for more details. He responded that McLain had size 9 feet and Knox knew he would never be a good linebacker with feet that small. 'I got stuck with another one in Seattle -- Brian Bosworth. He had feet this big,' stated Knox. He amplified his point by holding his hands maybe 10 inches apart to show the smallness of Bosworth's feet."

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