Fort Worth legend, Pro Football Hall of Famer Yale Lary dies at 86

Yale Lary, former Detroit Lions star and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died Friday at 86.
Yale Lary, former Detroit Lions star and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died Friday at 86. Star-Telegram

Yale Lary, Fort Worth’s and Texas A&M’s only Pro Football Hall of Famer, died Thursday. He was 86.

Lary was born in Fort Worth in 1930 and became a four-year letterwinner at North Side High School. He went on to star at A&M in both football and baseball.

During Lary’s senior year, he led the Aggies to a 22-21 victory over Texas. It marked the first time A&M had beaten its rival in 12 years. He ran 68 yards for a touchdown and caught a 37-yard touchdown pass, while also playing defensive back.

Later his senior season, Lary led the Aggie baseball team to the College World Series while setting a Southwest Conference record for doubles.

Lary, a third-round pick of the Lions in 1952, had an 11-year career with Detroit from 1952-53 and 1956-64. His career was interrupted by two years of service in the United States Army after serving in the reserve officers’ training corps at A&M.

Lary made 50 interceptions and averaged 44.3 yards per punt during his career. He earned All-NFL five times, earned nine Pro Bowls and was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1950s.

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

“Yale Lary was a true American hero,” Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker said. “He was defined by his heart and character that made him one of the game’s greatest players. 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.”