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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 57

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This is the grave of Lyle Alzado.

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Born in Brooklyn, Lyle Alzado loved football but was not seen as a college prospect. Thus he traveled to faraway Texas to play at Kilgore College, a 2-year school. He then transferred to Yankton College in South Dakota, a school that has since been turned into a federal prison. He was noticed by a scout watching film of an opposing player at equally obscure Montana Tech. The Denver Broncos drafted him in the 4th round in 1971, where he played until 1978. He soon became an excellent defensive linemen. A contract dispute led Denver to send him to the Browns, who traded him to the Raiders in 1982. By this time, he was playing with utter angry abandon, known for his enforcer style that fit Al Davis’ teams of the time. At one point, he threw his helmet at an opposing player, leading the NFL to create the Alzado Rule that banned players from using their helmets as weapons. He retired in 1985 with 112.5 sacks. In order to keep up this intense style of play and physical regimen, he shot himself full of a shocking amount of steroids. Many claimed that Alzado’s death from cancer at the age of 43 in 1992 was due to his chemical regime, but that’s probably not true.

As a child, rooting for the Seahawks in the early 80s, there was only one player I hated more than Alzado. That was Horseface Elway.

It does not seem that anyone has ever played Lyle Alzado in the movies or TV. But Alzado himself appeared on the screen many times. He was in episodes of True Blue, Top Cops, Trapper John MD, MacGyver, and many other fine shows of the 1980s and early 1990s. He was also in Ernest Goes to Camp and Who’s Harry Crumb.

Lyle Alzado is buried in River View Cemetery, Portland, Oregon.

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