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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rest In Peace, Alex "The Mad Duck" Karras
A few days ago, I noticed in the news that former Detroit Lion defensive tackle and actor Alex Karras had passed away. As Karras had retired in 1970 (well, he was cut in training camp in 1971), I didn't really see him play, and I remember him more as an actor than a football player. However, as I learned more about the NFL's history, I discovered that he was one of the...
Published 21 months ago by WryGuy2

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Outdated but Interesting Story of Football Career
Tough guy Alex Karras put his story down on paper in 1977 and it's mostly entertaining, though somewhat shallow. His cavalier attitude toward cheating, gambling and violence is disturbing--if you are looking for apologies you won't find them here.

It deals almost completely with his football career, from high school to University of Iowa to playing...
Published on June 29, 2009 by Mediaman


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rest In Peace, Alex "The Mad Duck" Karras, October 17, 2012
By 
WryGuy2 (Out On Life's Journey) - See all my reviews
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A few days ago, I noticed in the news that former Detroit Lion defensive tackle and actor Alex Karras had passed away. As Karras had retired in 1970 (well, he was cut in training camp in 1971), I didn't really see him play, and I remember him more as an actor than a football player. However, as I learned more about the NFL's history, I discovered that he was one of the best tackles in the 1960s, and was named to the NFL's all-decade team. So, I decided to give his autobiography "Even Big Guys Cry" a try.

Written over 30 years ago, the book is a quick, easy read and covers Karras's life from childhood to his retirement from football. Parts of the book are laugh out loud funny, while other parts are surprisingly sensitive and deep. In addition to football, Karras deals with the death of his father and of his early experiences with women. (They aren't "conquest" stories and usually didn't end up happily for Karras.) As the book was co-authored by Herb Gluck, it's hard to tell how much of this depth comes from Karras and how much from Gluck, but from what I'd heard/read, as a football player, Karras was much smarter than your average Bear (or Packer or Ram!) so it's probably from Karras's heart.

Like many elite athletes, Karras was driven to succeed, and to be the best defensive tackle in football. This drive would occasionally lead him to do bad things, like the time in college when he intentionally attacked the knee of a teammate who was ahead of him on the depth chart, and blew out the teammate's ligaments (which Karras admits to being the worst thing he ever did on a football field). Karras gives many anecdotes from his playing time and provides a full account of what led him to be suspended by the NFL for a year for gambling in 1963.

While he occasionally calls out teammates for their shortcomings, most of the venom in the book is reserved for coaches who weren't, in his opinion, competent. For example, after angry several run-ins, he demanded that his college head coach and line coach refuse to speak directly to him for an entire year (and he was such a talent that they agreed). He admittedly had a problem with authority figures, and refused to buckle under to what he considered to be unreasonable demands (this probably led to his suspension for a year as much as any gambling he did).

But Karras, by and large, comes across as an erudite, decent fellow, who's just a little rough around the edges. His quick wit and intelligence provided the springboard for his later success as an actor, and is on full display in the book. (For example, after being reinstated from his suspension, at the start of a game he refused to call "heads" or "tails" on the coin-toss, cheekily telling the referee that he wasn't allowed to gamble.) Overall, this is a good book by a great talent. Four stars.

PS: "The Mad Duck" was one of Karras's nicknames when he played for the Lions.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Outdated but Interesting Story of Football Career, June 29, 2009
Tough guy Alex Karras put his story down on paper in 1977 and it's mostly entertaining, though somewhat shallow. His cavalier attitude toward cheating, gambling and violence is disturbing--if you are looking for apologies you won't find them here.

It deals almost completely with his football career, from high school to University of Iowa to playing professionally for Detroit. He seemed devastated by the death of his doctor father when Karras was in high school. He took comfort, at age 16, in a long-term hidden affair with his high school English teacher. Then after she moved away he took out his rage by playing football, following in the footsteps of his brothers.

The stories are told in the typical dry humor that Karras became known for on Monday Night Football and appearances on talk shows, but he often fails to provide details of some very interesting milestones (punching out the Iowa head football coach and demanding that the coaches not say a word to him all year? How did he get away with that?).

This book just skims the surface and is a quick read, but will not satisfy those who want to go deep inside the mind of Karras--he paints himself as an emotionally fragile tough guy who was just starting to make peace with himself as he was starting his acting career as this memoir ends.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK WILL MAKE BIG GUYS LAUGH, July 28, 2002
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This review is from: Even Big Guys Cry
ALEX KARRAS DOES A VERY GOOD JOB OF DESCRIBING HIS LIFE AND CAREER IN THE NFL. IT IS SAD, FUNNY, INTERESTING, AND NEVER DULL. I REALLY ENJOYED THIS. HIS ACTING CAREER ON TV, MOVIES, COMMERCIALS AND MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL MAKE HIM QUITE THE STORY TELLER. RECOMMENDED FOR ALL FOOTBALL FANS.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I have enjoyed Alex Karras from the George Plimton books, June 27, 2013
By 
Dirk Steel (Southern Mexifornia) - See all my reviews
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This isn't a great book, but if you are interested in Alex it does fill in some blanks. Rest in peace Alex.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, December 5, 2012
By 
V. Boynton (Sharpsburg, GA) - See all my reviews
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Enjoyed reading this book. Bought it after his death. Learned a great deal about him that I never knew. It was easy reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Alex Karras football biography, November 13, 2012
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His grandfather was from Athens, Greece. His father was a doctor in Gary, Indiana. He had older brothers and a sister. He shares his growing up experience and his love-life as one gal's parents want her to be with a Catholic guy. His dad passes away. Alex has a physical relationship with a teacher and tells her he loves her. At times the story is told in stream of consciousness.

He attends the University of Iowa to play football, does well at first, then struggles before eventually reaching his potential. Trouble with coaches along the way, he is perhaps oversensitive.

Ends up throwing the shot amd disc in Balkan Games for Greece and meets a gal there, meets Aristotle Onassis.

He gets drafted by the Detroit Lions and shares tales of drunkeness and driving. Players get traded and there is a change in ownership, but the team is unable to win enough games to claim the championship. His brother has a mental breakdown.

Has a passion for gambling and eventually gets asked by Pete Rozelle if he has bet on the Lions and he says he has. He and Packers player Paul Hornung get suspended for a year. Alex has part ownership in a bar and that is a problem. He does some wrestling for $.

He gets to go back and play but the years are a blur of mostly losses. George Plimpton attends training camp and writes Paper Lion wich is made into the movie Paper Lion [VHS] so Alex get to be in the picture. He likes the experience and is able to obtain some more acting rolls.

At the end of 1971 training camp at age 35 he gets a phone call. After 13 years he gets cut from the team. A couple black and white pictures on inside front cover and one inside back cover of him from Blazing Saddles. Written in apparently in 1977 there is nothing about his life between 1971 and 1977. Just a mention that he knew Howard Cosell and that he announced some on Monday Night Football. Engaging insight into NFL lifestyles and lockerrooms.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Service from the Seller, November 13, 2012
By 
Sundowner (Boerne, TX, US) - See all my reviews
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I knew Alex Karras from college. He was a great football player and an interesting gentleman who went far in this world. We will all miss him.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EVEN BIG GUYS CRY, February 1, 2010
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I'M A SATISFIED CUSTOMER. THE BOOK ARRIVED QUICKLY. NO COMPLAINTS.

THANK YOU,
ROGER
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Even Big Guys Cry
Even Big Guys Cry by Alex Karras (Unknown Binding - 1977)
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