May 28, 2009

Lions great Terry Barr dies at 73

Former Michigan and Detroit Lions star Terry Barr died Thursday after an extended illness, the Lions confirmed. He was 73.

The Detroit Free Press reported Barr died at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., of Alzheimer's disease.

Barr, an all-state selection in track and football at Grand Rapids Central High School, was Detroit's third-round pick in the 1957 NFL Draft after a standout career as a running back and defensive back at the University of Michigan. He played nine seasons for the Lions and remained in Michigan after his playing days, the team said Thursday on its Web site.

As a rookie defensive back, Barr helped the Lions win the NFL championship when he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 59-14 win over Cleveland in the title game. He was a flanker when he was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1963 and 1964.

He delivered a lot of great, big plays for the Detroit Lions during the time that he played, former Detroit teammate and business partner Joe Schmidt told the Detroit News.

Terry Barr was a true gentleman, said Lions President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Lewand. Not only was he an outstanding player throughout his career with the Lions, University of Michigan and Grand Rapids Central, but he was a genuinely kind and endearing man.

Barr is survived by his wife Shelley, their sons Brian, Alan and Terrence and their families, the Lions said.