Hall of Famer and Former Oilers DL Curley Culp Passes Away

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Hall of Famer and former Oilers defensive lineman Curley Culp died on Saturday of complications from pancreatic cancer.

Culp's wife, Collette Bloom Culp, announced "on behalf of our family and with a broken heart" the five-time All-Pro's death. He was 75.

Earlier this month, Culp announced that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

"Our team certainly lost a great one today!," Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. "Curley was a game changer for our defense when he came to us in the trade with the Chiefs and was pivotal to our success during the Luv Ya Blue days. He rightfully earned a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and I was fortunate to spend some quality time with Curley and his wife Collette when we hosted the Oilers reunion this past September. They also brought two of their young grandchildren for that weekend and Curley's love for those two was very obvious. He will forever be remembered as a ferocious nose tackle as a player and a Hall of Fame gentleman off the field."

Culp, who was in Nashville earlier this season for Oilers Tribute Week, played for the Oilers from 1974 to 1980 after being drafted by the Broncos and first playing with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played from 1968 to 1974. He was traded to the Oilers in the middle of the 1974 season. Culp ended his career with the Lions.

Culp was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Curley Culp. He was a wonderful man of great integrity who respected the game of football and how it applied to everyday life," Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said. "Curley's humility and grace were always apparent."

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Culp was a five-time Pro Bowler (1971, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978) and also an AFL All Star in 1969.

He was a first team All-Pro in 1975.

Culp had 68 career sacks and 14 forced fumbles.

Culp was as a leader of the Oilers defense that culminated in back-to-back appearances in the AFC championship games in 1978 and 1979.

"This is very hard to say but I can't hold back on what a fine man Curley was," former Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini Culp's teammate with the Oilers said in a Facebook post on Saturday. "He was a man of principle and his word was his bond. If he told you he'd do something or if he would be there for you, he was. You could bet on it. Bum always said, never let a chance go by and not tell those you love that you love them. I'm thankful I spoke with Curley to do just that last week. Curley my brother, thank you for being my friend and now your pain is over. I do love you friend, always have and always will. Rest now and I'll see you again....RIP."

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