The Bengals spent a lot to improve their offensive line during the 2022 NFL offseason. One of their moves was to sign center Ted Karras away from the Patriots.
The move has panned out well.
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Karras allowed just two sacks and committed three penalties while playing the third-most snaps among players on the offense. In fact, he missed just seven snaps during the regular season while being a rock-solid starter.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Karras is faring well in this role. Why? Because he comes from a family that has plenty of ties to the NFL.
Yes, NFL historians, that family does include legendary former Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras.
Just how is Ted Karras related to the Hall of Famer? Here’s what to know about the connection between the two and the other members of the Karras clan who have made it to the NFL.
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Is Ted Karras related to Alex Karras?
Yes, Ted Karras III and Alex Karras are related. Alex is Ted’s great uncle, as Ted’s grandfather — Ted Karras Sr. — was brothers with Alex.
Ted Karras III is one of the many members of the Karras clan to play in the NFL. Altogether, five have played at the highest level, and as you can see in the list below, three of them share the same name:
- Lou Karras (1950-52)
- Ted Karras Sr. (1958-66)
- Alex Karras (1958-70)
- Ted Karras Jr. (1987)
- Ted Karras III (2016-present)
The three elder Karras brothers made it to the NFL in part out of necessity. Ted Jr. said that they needed a way to pay for college after their father died suddenly.
“They loved the game of football, but really they used it as a means to get an education. Otherwise they weren’t going to college,” Ted Karras Jr. told Patriots.com. “None of us were very highly recruited, except for Alex, which is interesting, but they made it to the highest level. That’s kind of how it started, basically out of need.”
From there, they blossomed into quality players who each got a chance to play at the highest level of the sport.
Incredibly, all three Ted Karrases have earned NFL championship rings. Ted Sr. got one in 1963 with the Bears; Ted Jr. got a Super Bowl ring after playing in one game as a replacement player for Washington in 1987; and Ted III won Super Bowls 51 and 53 with the Patriots.
But Alex Karras remains the most notable member of the family. The Hall of Fame defensive tackle was named an AP All-Pro and racked up exactly 100 sacks during his playing career. He played 12 seasons, all for the Lions, but missed the entire 1963 season after being suspended by the league for gambling. He is one of just five players in NFL history to receive a suspension for violating the league’s policy against gambling.
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Alex Karras’ acting career
Of course, Alex Karras wasn’t just notable for his on-field performance. He also was a celebrity off the field as he became a TV and movie star.
Karras’ most notable role was as Mongo, an illiterate outlaw with a surprisingly philosophical nature, in the 1974 Mel Brooks film “Blazing Saddles.”
He also starred in movies such as “Porky’s” and “Victor Victoria” and had a leading role as George Papadopolis in the sitcom “Webster.”
Karras also had a stint as a “Monday Night Football” commentator from 1972-74, shortly after his NFL career ended. But most of his on-camera work came in movies and TV series.
Ted Karras revealed in a 2016 interview with ESPN’s Mike Reiss that he had viewed plenty of his great uncle’s work over the course of his life. So, what were his favorites?
“You know, I wasn’t a huge ‘Webster’ guy,” Karras said. “I’m more of a ‘Blazing Saddles’ kind of guy. Or ‘Porky’s.'”