Former Detroit Lions linebacker from the 1960s and '70s, Mike Lucci, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 81.  The Lions reported the news on Tuesday afternoon.

Lucci played for the team from 1965-1973 after starting his career with the Cleveland Browns in 1961.

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Lucci made the Pro Bowl as a Lion in 1971 and was All-NFL in 1969. He was a key contributor in the Lions' 1970 NFC Wild-Card playoff berth (the Lions went 10-4 that season), where they lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round 5-0 at the Cotton Bowl.

Lucci lived in the Detroit area after his career was over, and was the team's radio color analyst for a few years in the 1970s.  He was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp released a statement on Lucci's passing.  It reads:

"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 played his college football at Tennessee and was a member of the Cleveland Browns 1964 NFL Championship team before being traded to Detroit the next year.


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