Monday, August 5, 2013

RIP NFL Great Art Donovan

From ESPN:  Art Donovan, the lineman whose hilarious stories about his football career enabled him to maintain his popularity long after his election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died Sunday night. He was 88.
Donovan died at 7:20 p.m. at Stella Maris Hospice in Baltimore, according to Kevin Byrne, senior vice president of public and community relations for the Baltimore Ravens.
Donovan made a name for himself as a feisty defensive tackle for the Baltimore Colts, helping the team to world championships in 1958 and '59. He also spent single seasons with the New York Yanks and Dallas Texans in a career that lasted from 1950 through '61.
"We lost a friend, one of the finest men and one of the greatest characters we were fortunate to meet in this community and in this business," Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said. "Baltimore is now without one of its best and someone who was a foundation for the tremendous popularity of football in our area. The world is not as bright tonight because we lost someone who could make us all smile."
Voted into the Hall of Fame in 1968, Donovan was an outstanding lineman and an even better storyteller. Long after his career was finished, Donovan made a living on the talk-show circuit, weaving yarns about the NFL's good old days -- as he put it, "When men were, well, men."
Donovan was much like Bob Uecker, who also became popular on late-night talk shows through his stories about sports. But Uecker's game was baseball, and his schtick dealt with his limited abilities. Donovan performed on the football field as well as anyone at his position, even though he once said the only weight he ever lifted was a beer can.
"Some of the greatest football ever played by a defensive tackle was played by Art Donovan," said Hall of Fame center Jim Ringo, who died in 2007. "He was one of the greatest people I played against all my life."  http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9539023/art-donovan-former-baltimore-colts-defensive-lineman-dies-age-88
Here is Donovan and JohnnyCarson:


Update: Art was also in the Marines and fought in World War 2:
But football was Donovan's love. Despite a modest high school career, he received a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame in 1942 but left after one semester to join the Marines. Stationed in the Pacific, he served as an anti-aircraft gunner aboard the USS San Jacinto during the assault on Leyte in the central Philippines.
After 13 months at sea, Donovan volunteered for the Fleet Marine Force, which landed him in the middle of combat on Okinawa. His citations, which included the Asiatic Pacific Area Ribbon and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, would later earn him a place in the U.S. Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame — the first pro football player so honored.
"Here’s a guy that fought in World War II and played with the Baltimore Colts," former Colts wide receiver Raymond Berry said this weekend while attending the Hall of Fame festivities in Canton, Ohio. "I would say, ‘Artie, tell me about your World World II service.’ And [he would say], ‘Well, I got shot in the butt at Okinawa.’ That was typical Art Donovan."
Donovan's favorite war story? The time on Guam when he swiped a case of Spam, got caught and was ordered to eat it or go to the brig. In nine days, he polished off all 30 pounds of the processed pork.
His go-to jokes dealt with food and drink. Donovan liked to describe himself as a light eater.
"As soon as it's light, I start to eat," he would say.
And: "The only weight I ever lifted weighed 24 ounces. It was a Schlitz. I always replaced my fluids."
Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/bs-donovan-advanceobit-20130804,0,2235243.story#ixzz2b5ShfhGQ

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