Is Ted Karras related to Alex Karras? The NFL family connection explained

If you are a fan of the NFL, you may have heard of Ted Karras, the center for the Cincinnati Bengals. But did you know that he is related to Alex Karras, the legendary former Lions defensive tackle and famous actor? In this article, we will explore the family ties between these two NFL stars and how they have made their mark on the sport.

Who is Ted Karras?

Ted Karras III is a 30-year-old offensive lineman who plays for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, with whom he won two Super Bowl championships. He spent the 2020 season with the Miami Dolphins before returning to New England the next season. He then signed with the Bengals as a free agent in 2022.

Karras has been a reliable and versatile player who can play both guard and center positions. He has started 65 games in his career and has allowed just two sacks and committed three penalties in 2022. He has been a key part of the Bengals’ offensive line that has protected quarterback Joe Burrow and paved the way for running back Joe Mixon.

Who is Alex Karras?

Alex Karras was a Hall of Fame defensive tackle who played for the Detroit Lions from 1958 to 1970. He was one of the most dominant and feared players of his era, earning four Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro honors. He recorded exactly 100 sacks in his career, which ranks him among the all-time leaders in NFL history.

Karras was also known for his colorful personality and off-field activities. He was suspended for the entire 1963 season by the NFL for gambling on games. He also had a successful career as an actor, starring in movies such as Blazing Saddles, Victor Victoria, and Against All Odds. He also played George Papadapolis, the adoptive father of Emmanuel Lewis’ character, on the sitcom Webster.

Karras died in 2012 at the age of 77 after suffering from kidney failure, heart disease, stomach cancer, and dementia.

How are Ted Karras and Alex Karras related?

Ted Karras III and Alex Karras are related by blood. Alex is Ted’s great uncle, as Ted’s grandfather — Ted Karras Sr. — was brothers with Alex. Ted Karras III is one of the many members of the Karras clan who have played in the NFL. Altogether, five have played at the highest level:

– Lou Karras (1950-52)

– Ted Karras Sr. (1958-66)

– Alex Karras (1958-70)

– Ted Karras Jr. (1987)

– Ted Karras III (2016-present)

The three elder Karras brothers made it to the NFL in part out of necessity. Ted Jr. said that they needed a way to pay for college after their father died suddenly.

“They loved the game of football, but really they used it as a means to get an education. Otherwise they weren’t going to college,” Ted Karras Jr. told “None of us were very highly recruited, except for Alex, which is interesting, but they made it to the highest level. That’s kind of how it started, basically out of need.”

From there, they blossomed into quality players who each got a chance to play at the highest level of the sport. Incredibly, all three Ted Karrases have earned NFL championship rings. Ted Sr. got one in 1963 with the Bears; Ted Jr. got a Super Bowl ring after playing in one game as a replacement player for Washington in 1987; and Ted III won Super Bowls 51 and 53 with the Patriots.

But Alex Karras remains the most notable member of the family. The Hall of Fame defensive tackle was named an AP All-Pro and racked up exactly 100 sacks during his playing career. He played 12 seasons, all for the Lions, but missed the entire 1963 season after being suspended by the league for gambling.

He is also one of just five players in NFL history to receive a suspension for violating the league’s policy against gambling.


Ted Karras III and Alex Karras are part of a remarkable NFL family that spans four generations and five players. They share a common bond of football excellence, perseverance, and passion. They also share a common name that has become synonymous with the sport.

Doms Desk

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