Ed Flanagan, a four-time Pro Bowl center who was chosen to the Lions’ 75th anniversary all-time team, has died at the age of 79.
Flanagan played his college football at Purdue, snapping to quarterback Bob Griese, and was an All-Big Ten center in his senior year of 1964.
In 1965 the Lions drafted him in the fifth round, he became their starting center as a rookie, and he retained that position for a decade. Flanagan told Coffin Corner that the Lions were paying him $12,000 a year.
“We always worked in the offseason. I started off selling steel in Detroit, calling on General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. I did that for two years, and then I got into real estate. I sold real estate for two years,” Flanagan recalled years later.
After 10 seasons in Detroit and selections to the Pro Bowl in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1973, Flanagan attempted to leave for the World Football League, but that deal fell through. A contract dispute with the Lions saw him sign with the San Diego Chargers in 1975, where he made the highest salary of his career, $37,000 a year. He retired after the 1976 season.