Dick Modzelewski, an All-American in 1951 and 1952 at Maryland who won the Outland Trophy in 1952 as the nation's best lineman, has died. He was 87.
Modzelewski, a star defensive tackle who appeared in eight NFL championship games with the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns during the 1950s and `60s, died Friday at his home in Eastlake, Ohio, outside Cleveland, the Giants said in a statement Saturday. No cause was given.
Modzelewski, known as "Lil Mo,” spent 14 years in the NFL, eight with the Giants that included six title games. He teamed with Andy Robustelli, Rosey Grier and Jim Katcavage on one of the great defensive lines.
Modzelewski also appeared in two championship games with the Browns. He joined the NFL with the Washington Redskins in 1953 and also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, never missing a game in his career.
He coached in the NFL for 22 years, including the 1978 season as the Giants' defensive coordinator.
Modzelewski, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame both in 1993, was drafted by the Redskins in the second round in 1953. He played two seasons there before his trade to the Steelers.
After one year in Pittsburgh, Modzelewski was again traded, this time twice in less than a week. The Steelers dealt him to the Detroit Lions, who three days later sent him to the Giants for another defensive tackle, Ray Krouse, a former Maryland teammate.
Modzelewski was traded to the Browns in 1964 for wide receiver Bobby Crespino. He was expected to be a backup but became a starter when Frank Parker was injured. Cleveland played in the championship game in each of Modzelewski's first two seasons, beating the Colts in 1964 and then losing to the Green Bay Packers.
A funeral is set for Friday in Mentor, Ohio.
Modzelewski is survived by his wife of 64 years, Dorothy Jane, and four children.
His brother Ed, known as “Big Mo,” played fullback at Maryland, where he was an All-America honorable mention in 1950 and second-team All-American in 1951. Ed, who played in the NFL from 1952 to 1959, died in 2015.