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Former Lions receiver Gail Cogdill, 79, dies

Associated Press
Gail Cogdill, an NFL star who played nine seasons with the Detroit Lions, died Thursday. He was 79.

Gail Cogdill, a star receiver for the Detroit Lions and the NFL rookie of the year in 1960, has died. He was 79.

A statement from his family says Cogdill died Thursday in Spokane, Washington. He had organ failure and dementia.

Cogdill was named the NFL’s top rookie in 1960 after catching 43 passes for 642 yards and a touchdown. He played 11 seasons, including nine with Detroit.

He was named team MVP in 1962 after making 53 catches for 991 yards, which included seven touchdowns. He scored two TDs against the Packers that season in what became known as the "Thanksgiving Day Massacre" when Detroit handed Green Bay its only loss that season.

He held the team record for career receiving yards — 5,221 — until Herman Moore passed him in the 1990s.

In 2008, Codgill and Moore were honored as members of the Lions' 75th anniversary all-time team.

Cogdill played college football at Washington State. His family says his brain and brain stem are being donated to researchers at Boston University who study brain trauma.