By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor
Old school Baltimore Colts football fans are remembering the legendary linebacker known as “Mad Dog.” Mike Curtis, the ferocious Colts middle linebacker died on April 20, in St. Petersburg, Fl. He was 77.
Fox 45 Sports director Bruce Cunningham reported that Curtis died due to complications from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries.
“We’ve learned this evening that former Colts linebacker Mike Curtis’ death was caused by CTE,” Cunningham wrote via Twitter on April 20. “He becomes the ninth member of the 1968 Colts Super Bowl team to die that way. That’s nine from a 45 man roster. Almost 20%. Those are giant numbers.”
Curtis, who was a native of Rockville, Md., terrorized NFL offenses with the Colts for a decade from 1965 to 1975 and then with the Seattle Seahawks in 1976 and the Washington D.C. football club in 1977 and 1978.
But, it was with the Colts where Curtis thrived as a four-time all-pro and forged his reputation as one of the most fearsome defensive players of his era.
With Curtis patrolling the middle of the Colts vaunted defense, the club won the old NFL title in 1968, but would go on to lose to the AFL’s New York Jets led by Joe Namath in Super Bowl III. The Colts would eventually capture their first Super Bowl title two seasons later in 1970 in SB V, versus the Dallas Cowboys, with Curtis at middle linebacker.
Bill Curry, who anchored the Colts offensive line at center during Curtis’ tenure with the club, honored his former teammate via Twitter.
“Mike Curtis was my roommate for five years, one of the great players ever. In my first camp my wife went into labor at 5 a.m. I panicked, but Mike talked me through plane res (reservation), seeing Shula (Baltimore Colts coach Don Shula), and gave me the keys to his brand new T Bird. I never forgot,” wrote Curry.