Yale Lary (1930 - 2017)

Yale Lary, the former NFL player, Hall of Famer, and nine-time Pro Bowler, died Friday, May 12, 2017, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was 86.

Lary was regarded as one of the best players of the 1950s. He played defensive back, punter, and return man for the Detroit Lions. He was key to the Lions' championship teams of 1952, 1953, and 1957.

David Baker, the Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO called Lary "a true American hero."

"He was defined by his heart and character that made him one of the game’s greatest players," Baker said. "Yale led by example and raised the level of all his teammates that resulted in multiple league titles for the Detroit Lions. Those same traits were on display during his service to our country as a member of the United States Army.

"Yale Lary lived a life of character that will serve as great inspiration to generations of fans. His legacy will forever be celebrated at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.”


Click to get weekly celebrity death news delivered to your inbox.


Robert Yale Lary Jr. was born Nov. 24, 1930, in Fort Worth, Texas. He played college football at Texas A&M University. He was third-round selection in the 1952 NFL draft. Lary played for a season with Detroit and rejoined the team in 1956 after his Army stint. He was with the Lions through 1964.

Lary was not only a nine-time Pro Bowler, but also a five-time first-team All-Pro member.

He had 50 career interceptions for 787 yards.

Lary was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

We invite you to share condolences for Yale Lary in our Guest Book.