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Gail Cogdill (1937 - 2016)

AP Photo / Paul Sancya

Gail Cogdill (1937 - 2016)

Gail Cogdill, former Detroit Lions wide receiver, died Thursday, October 20, in Spokane, Washington according to multiple news sources. He was 79.

The Detroit Free Press reported that Cogdill died of complications from heart and kidney failure as well as dementia.

Drafted out of Washington State in 1960, Cogdill made an immediate impact at wide receiver, catching 43 passes for 642 yards and 1 touchdown. He was named NFL offensive rookie of the year and made the first of three Pro Bowl appearances.

He played nine seasons for the Lions, and became the team’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, until those records were broken by Herman Moore in the 1990s. During his time in Detroit he gained a reputation for spectacular circus catches.

In 1965 he suffered a knee injury that affected his on-field performance for the rest of his career. He was released by the Lions in 1968 before being signed by the eventual NFL Champion Baltimore Colts. The team would go on to lose Super Bowl III to the New York Jets. He played two more seasons for the Atlanta Falcons before retiring in 1970.


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Born in Worland, Wyoming on April 4, 1937, Cogdill played high school football for Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, Washington. He then went to went to Washington State on a football scholarship where he played both offensive and defensive positions.

Cogdill is survived by his wife Dian, five children, a granddaughter and two great grandsons.

The family are donating his brain and brain stem to Boston University for further research into concussions and brain trauma.

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