For a decade, Charlie Sanders was one of the best tight ends in the NFL, a sure-handed pass catcher who helped revolutionize the position.
A third-round pick out of Minnesota in 1968, Sanders played for the Gophers in 1966 and 1967, earning All-Big Ten honors as a senior. He helped lead Minnesota to an 8-2 record and a share of the Big Ten title in 1967.
He suffered a knee injury in 1976 that ended his career and ultimately led to the discovery of the cancer that claimed his life.
"The ultimate Lion," said Sanders' good friend, former Pistons star and ex-Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.
Sanders died Thursday after a seven-month battle with cancer, he was 68.