Ex-Detroit Lions OL Ed Flanagan, a 4-time Pro Bowler in the 1970s, dies at 79

Detroit Free Press

Ed Flanagan, a four-time Pro Bowl selection for the Detroit Lions in the 1970s, has passed away, the team announced Wednesday. He was 79.

Flanagan played 10 seasons for the Lions in 1965-74, and was a member of the Lions’ all-time team.

A fifth-round pick out of Purdue in 1965, Flanagan started all 139 games he played for the Lions at center. He made his first Pro Bowl in the 1969 season, and went again three of the next four years.

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Former Lions guard Bob Kowalkowski, who played alongside Flanagan on the Lions offensive line, called Flanagan the best center in the NFL during his era.

“Ed had great blocking technique,” Kowalkowski said in a 2003 interview with ProFootballResearches.org. “Usually when he hit somebody, they went down. But we called him ‘Easy Ed.’ He was an even-tempered guy. He never let stuff upset him. That helped him handle the NFL.”

Flanagan finished his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers, where he appeared in 26 games with 25 starts over two seasons.

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Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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