Justin Rogers, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News discuss the Detroit Lions' 28-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
Detroit — The Pride is now 18 deep.
The Lions on Sunday inducted former wide receiver Herman Moore and defensive tackles Alex Karras and Roger Brown to its Pride of the Lions display at halftime of Detroit’s homecoming weekend matchup with the visiting Seattle Seahawks.
Both Moore and Brown were in attendance for the halftime ceremony; Karras, who died in 2012, was represented by his son, George.
Introduced in 2008, Pride of the Lions is a wall of names at Ford Field honoring franchise greats such as running back Barry Sanders and quarterback Bobby Layne.
Brown said he was at his restaurant in Portsmouth, Va., when he got the call from Lions president Rod Wood. As soon as he confirmed the call wasn’t a prank, he cried.
“I have been down to Ford Field quite often,” he said before Sunday’s game. “To be out on the field, and to look at all the names, and never saw mine. And I wished mine was up there. And now it’s happening.”
Likewise, Moore also was surprised when Wood made the announcement of his induction during the Fox 2 Detroit pregame show he hosts with Dan Miller. Still, that doesn’t mean Moore — who retired following the 2002 season as the franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns — thinks he’s undeserving of the honor.
“(Wood) said there’s also a third guy on the set. It just kind of went over my head a little bit, 'cause I looked over at Dan, and I didn’t really think about me,” Moore said.
“It was very surprising, but again, it’s something that I accept. Do I feel like I deserve it? Absolutely.”
Brown and Karras made up half of the “Fearsome Foursome”, the nickname for Detroit’s 1962 defensive line that terrorized offenses — and was as tough as they come.
Moore described the era of his fellow inductees as “MMA (mixed-martial arts) playing football.”
Karras missed just one game in his 12-year career (1958-70) and went on to become a silver-screen sensation with roles in classic flicks such as “Blazing Saddles” and ABC’s hit sitcom, “Webster.”
Brown recalled a matchup with the Bears in which Karras faced his older brother, Ted, and refused to let the kinship disrupt his goal of getting into the backfield.
“Alex had beat up on him a couple times, and he said, ‘Alex, this is your brother,’” to which Karras responded, “I don’t care.”
Brown added: “If you had to go in a street fight, he’d be a good boy to have with you.”
Brown made the Pro Bowl every year from 1962 to 1967 and earned First-Team All-Pro honors twice.
Both living members of Sunday’s induction also are hopeful of the prospects brought on by the Lions’ recognition of their achievements in Honolulu blue.
“The thing I’m waiting for now is Canton, Ohio. … One of the original Fearsome Foursome should be in that hall,” Brown said.
“I guarantee I’m going to stay vertical until they call me and say, ‘Come on in.’ I’ll be ready.”
Moore, who played in Detroit from 1991-2001 and said he wants “to get a gold jacket,” sees his exclusion from the Hall as a result of wide receivers playing second fiddle to running backs during his era.
“It was a different time,” he said.
But for now, he’s just happy that the franchise he played for is recognizing stars of years gone by.
“It’s cool what the guys are doing now; they still are writing their story,” he said. “Ours is written, and it needs to be displayed and put out there more so people understand there is legacy that has happened here.”
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.