Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers legend Curley Culp died Saturday. He was 75.
Culp's family shared the news on Twitter on Saturday. In November, Culp announced he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
On behalf of our family and with a broken heart, I announce the passing of my husband, Curley Culp early this morning. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time.
Collette Bloom Culp
This account is now closed.
— Curley Culp (@CurleyCulp) November 27, 2021
Culp spent 14 seasons in the NFL, his first six-and-a-half coming with the Chiefs. Culp excelled as a defensive tackle with the team, making the Pro Bowl in two of his first six seasons. He was traded to the Houston Oilers in 1974, where he truly made his mark on the league.
With the Oilers, Culp transitioned to nose tackle. Under Bum Phillips, the team switched to a 3-4 defense. Phillips acquired Culp to clog up the middle of the field and take on double teams from opposing linemen.
Culp made the All-Pro team during his first full season with the Oilers. He was elected to the Pro Bowl four straight seasons, from 1975 to 1978.
Phillips credited Culp with making "the 3-4 defense work."
Curley Culp #TBT
"Curley made the 3-4 defense work. He made me look smart." – Bum Phillips @NFL Greatest Defensive Tackles #NFL100
📺: All-Time Teams air Fridays on @nflnetworkpic.twitter.com/RLAFU112Ca
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 6, 2019
Culp also spent a season and a half with the Detroit Lions at the end of his career. He played two games with the team in 1981, his final season in the NFL.
Curley Culp made NFL Hall of Fame in 2013
Culp paid that back during his 2013 Hall of Fame speech. Culp said Phillips' defense opened up "a whole new dimension of defensive football" for Culp. He called his time in Houston "unforgettable."
Hall of Fame president Jim Porter called Culp "a wonderful man of great integrity" in a statement.
"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Curley Culp," Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said. "He was a wonderful man of great integrity who respected the game of football and how it applied to everyday life. Curley's humility and grace were always apparent. He loved the Hall of Fame — always proudly wearing his gold jacket as he visited Canton many times following his election in 2013.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Curley's wife, Collette, and their entire family during this difficult time. The Hall of Fame will forever guard his legacy. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in Curley's memory."
In addition to making the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Culp was also inducted into the Chiefs' Hall of Fame in 2008.
Culp is widely considered one of the best nose tackles in NFL history.
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