DETROIT (AP) Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders epitomized Detroit's blue-collar roots.
Fans adored his gritty work ethic. Teammates embraced his leadership. Coaches found him to be a prized pupil and a talented teacher. And when Detroit's booming economy became the American standard, Sanders was rewriting football history with a trend-setting career.
On Thursday, the man who spent 43 years in the Lions' organization as a player, broadcaster and scout died in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak after battling cancer. He was 68. Lions spokesman Matt Barnhart said the team confirmed Sanders' death through family members.