Art Donovan, hall of fame defensive tackle for Baltimore Colts, dies at age 88

Frank Schwab

Art Donovan was probably better known for his funny stories about playing in the NFL than actually playing in the NFL.

It might say something about how good of a storyteller Donovan was that he overshadowed his own impressive playing career.

Donovan died Sunday. Donovan was a longtime defensive tackle for the Baltimore Colts, and a Pro Football Hall of Fame member. His Pro Football Hall of Fame bio said he was 88 years old.News of his death spread during the Hall of Fame preseason game on Sunday night.

Donovan had a unique road to NFL stardom, which came through in some of his famous stories. He was a 26-year-old rookie. A stint in World War II pushed his football career back. He was on three teams his first three pro seasons, before he finally stuck with the Colts in 1953.

He got a late start, but made up for it. From 1954-57, Donovan was a first-team All-Pro every year. He was second-team All-Pro in 1958 and 1960. He retired after the 1961 season. He was part of Colts championship teams in 1958 and 1959, the first two title teams in Colts history, and played in the famous NFL Championship Game against the Giants in Yankee Stadium at the end of the 1958 season. He was the first Colts player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Donovan's laughter and delivery made him even more famous after his playing career was done. He was a regular on television, including 10 guest appearances on David Letterman's talk show, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Donovan died of a respiratory ailment, the Sun reported.

"The only weight I ever lifted weighed 24 ounces," Donovan said in one of his many one-liners, according to the Sun. "It was a Schlitz. I always replaced my fluids."

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