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Alex Karras, Suspended Detroit Lion, Quits Bar Business In Hopes of NFL Return in ‘64

Dec. 17, 1963 - Alex Karras (pictured in 1960), the suspended tackle of the Detroit Lions, has quit his bar business, hoping this will help restore him to play in the National Football League. Lion owner William Cray Ford said he was delighted with Karras’s decision. “This is the only hope he has to pull at [NFL commissioner] Pete Rozelle’s heartstrings,” Ford said. Karras, suspended by Rozelle last April 17 for betting on games, decided to sever relations with his partner, Jimmy Butsicaris, with whom he had owned a downtown Detroit bar. Rozelle had said earlier that his investigations showed that Butsicaris had placed the bets which led to Karras’s suspension. Butsicaris said today that Karras had been unhappy in the bar all year, wanting to play football. “He was unhappy all the time. Sometimes I wanted to cry,” Butsicaris said today. Karras said, “Actually, I’d get nervous, particularly on Sundays. Football is what I know how to do. I really want to play. I don’t know if my leaving the bar will help me with Mr. Rozelle, but we’re going to do it and hope.” Commissioner Rozelle had been reported to be leaning against reinstating Karras in part because of his bar business. Rozelle has denied this. Paul Hornung, the Green Bay Packer halfback, was suspended with Karras, also for having bet on games. The suspensions were indefinite. Rozelle has indicated he would have a decision on reinstatement after the first of the year.


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