A dozen seasons as one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL turned out to be just an opening act for Alex Karras. The Lions' four-time Pro Bowl star was a natural in front of the camera, whether crumpling quarterbacks, needling then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle or sharing stories with Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show.” Karras used that tough-guy image to launch a second career as a sportscaster, and a sitcom and movie star. But his outspokenness on league matters and a season-long suspension for gambling may have cost him a spot in the Hall of Fame _ until now.

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