Detroit Lions legend Ed Flanagan has passed away at age 79

Detroit Lions. Mandatory Credit: Tom Pidgeon /Allsport
Detroit Lions. Mandatory Credit: Tom Pidgeon /Allsport /

Ed Flanagan, a member of the Detroit Lions’ all-time team, has passed away at the age of 79.

Ed Flanagan, a four-time Pro Bowler for the Detroit Lions and the center on the franchise’s all-time team, has passed away at the age of 79.

Flanagan was a fifth-round pick by the Lions in 1965 out of Purdue. He took over the starting job at center as a rookie, and did not give it up at all for the next nine seasons (129 straight games). He earned Pro Bowl selections in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1973, and he was also a team captain from 1969-1974.

Flanagan started 139 games for the the Lions, and he was named to the franchise’s all-time team when it was announced in 2019.

After 1o seasons in Detroit, Flanagan returned to his home state to play his final two NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers. But he’s best remembered for his time as a Lion, and his battles with Hall of Fame Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus.

Detroit Lions all-time great Ed Flanagan dead at age 79

Per Justin Rogers of The Detroit News, here’s what Chuck Knox, the Lions’ offensive line coach from 1967-1972 before he became a head coach in the NFL, said about Flanagan in a 2015 interview.

"He called all the blocking adjustments,”  “He was a Pro Bowl center and was a member of what was regarded as the best offensive line in the NFL at the time. He was an outstanding center. He had been a wrestler in high school and college and had good balance. Plus, he was tough and smart.”"

Flanagan went into the printing business after retiring as a player. He briefly dabbled in coaching, as offensive line coach for the Oakland Invaders of the USFL in 1984 and the Arizona Rattlers in the Arena Football League in 1985.

Our condolences to Flanagan’s family, friends and former teammates.

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