The Lions have lost another of the best players in their history, as former Pro Bowl linebacker Mike Lucci has passed away at the age of 81.
The weekend of their Week 6 game, news surfaced that former Lions standout Pat Studstill had passed away at age 83. On Tuesday morning, the team announced and his family has confirmed that former Lions’ Pro Bowl linebacker Mike Lucci has died at the age of 81.
Owner Sheila Ford Hamp offerred a statement on Lucci’s passing.
We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mike Lucci, whose passion for life was felt by all who knew him. Many will remember Mike for his toughness as a player during his nine seasons with the Lions, earning Pro Bowl honors in 1971 and being named the team’s defensive MVP three times. His positive presence as a leader within our Lions Legends community made him a familiar face to all, and his willingness to give back will always be part of his great legacy. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his wife, Patricia, and the entire Lucci family.”
Drafted in the fifth round of the 1961 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, Lucci played 12 NFL seasons (1962-1973)–spending the final nine (1965-1973) as a Lion. He earned a Pro Bowl selection in 1971, as season in which he had five interceptions (and returned two for touchdowns). He was named Lions’ defensive MVP three straight years from 1969-1971. In 117 games over his nine seasons in Detroit, Lucci had 21 interceptions and eight fumble recoveries. He also picked off five passes in 1966, with four interceptions in his final NFL season. Prior to being traded to Detroit, he was part of the Browns’ 1964 NFL Championship team.
Lucci went on to work as a game analyst for Lions’ radio from 1976-1978. He is a member of the Pennsylvania, National Italian-American and Michigan Sports Halls of Fame.