(WXYZ) — Former Detroit Lions linebacker Mike Lucci has passed away at age 81.
Lucci played for the Lions for nine seasons, from 1965 to 1973.
Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp issued a statement Tuesday regarding his passing:
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mike Lucci, whose passion for life was felt by all who knew him. Many will remember Mike for his toughness as a player during his nine seasons with the Lions, earning Pro Bowl honors in 1971 and being named the team’s defensive MVP three times. His positive presence as a leader within our Lions Legends community made him a familiar face to all, and his willingness to give back will always be part of his great legacy. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his wife, Patricia, and the entire Lucci family.”
Lucci originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in 1961 out of the University of Tennessee before being acquired by the Lions via trade in 1965. During his nine seasons with Detroit, Lucci earned All-NFL honors in 1969 and was named to the Pro Bowl following the 1971 season. He served as a team captain and was named the team’s defensive MVP from 1969-1971.
Following his playing career, Lucci served as a radio analyst for Lions games from 1976-78 and went on to become a successful businessman in Metro Detroit. Lucci is also a member of the Michigan, Pennsylvania and National Italian-American Sports Halls of Fame."