Patriots rookie has NFL, Hollywood bloodlines (Shutdown Corner)

Before we get started, a little music to set the mood: If you’re a certain age, you remember the sitcom “Webster,” and it almost doesn’t matter what age you are, you’ve heard of the cult classic comedy movie “Blazing Saddles”. What do both have in common? Actor Alex Karras. And New England Patriots rookie Ted Karras, a sixth-round pick out of Illinois, has a tie to both, since Alex was his great uncle. When he met with New England media for the first time last week, Karras, a 6-foot-3, 307 pound was asked about his uncle’s performances, and admitted to not watching much of the TV show that ran for six seasons in the mid-1980s and showed Alex as basically a teddy bear. “You know, I wasn’t a huge ‘Webster’ guy. I’m more of a ‘Blazing Saddles’ kind of guy. Or ‘Porky’s,'” Ted said, mentioning two of the movies Alex was in. In high school, Ted visited UCLA and spent the day with his uncle in Hollywood Hills, an experience he described as “cool.” But his uncle Alex wasn’t just an actor; before he went to Hollywood, Alex Karras was a first-round pick of the Detroit Lions, a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro pick at defensive tackle. And Alex Karras isn’t Ted’s only tie to the NFL: his grandfather, also named Ted, was a two-way player who enjoyed a nine-year career and was a member of the Chicago Bears’ championship team in 1963, and another great uncle, Lou, played three seasons with Washington as a defensive tackle. A third Ted Karras, Ted the Bear’s son and Ted the Patriot’s dad, played one game with Washington in 1987. “[His grandfather] told a lot of stories about being on the Bears in the 60s, shared winning the world championship in ’63, which was the biggest thrill of his life, and playing rivals like [Eugene] ‘Big Daddy’ Lipscomb of the Colts,” Ted said. “So I think I have a pretty good grasp of NFL history.” As for young Ted Karras, it remains to be seen what kind of NFL career he’ll have, but he seems to have a fan in Patriots’ offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who has returned to the team after a two-year retirement: “I really like [him]. He’s a unique kid in a lot of ways,” Scarnecchia said. “Unbelievable work ethic, really a good person, [and] very, very tough. Not as athletic as some, but he’s smart and always going to be in the right position. He can play center and guard, and we’re looking for him to help in any way he can.”

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