Yale Lary was one of the best all-around football players of his generation, even though he missed two seasons in the prime of his career to serve in the Army.
Early Friday morning, the NFL Hall of Fame safety died at the age of 86.
According to a press from Texas A&M, Lary was born Nov. 24, 1930 in Fort Worth and attended North Side High School. At A&M, Lary was a three-year letterman in both football and baseball and earned his degree in 1952.
Lary earned All-SWC honors in 1951 as a senior football player. On the diamond, Lary helped the Aggies reach the 1951 College World Series.
Lary played 11 seasons for the Lions in 1952-53 and 1956-64. He made nine Pro Bowls and helped the team win three NFL championships in his first four seasons, the last three in franchise history.
He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
"Yale Lary was a true American hero," Hall of Fame CEO David Baker said in a statement. "He was defined by his heart and character that made him one of the game’s greatest players. Yale led by example and raised the level of all his teammates that resulted in multiple league titles for the Detroit Lions. Those same traits were on display during his service to our country as a member of the United States Army."
Lary intercepted 50 passes in his 11 seasons in Detroit and won the NFL's punting crown three times. He also served as the team's punt and kick returner and was selected to the NFL's all-decade team of the 1950s.
Lary is one 20 former Lions enshrined in the Hall of Fame.