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Former Lion Watkins dies at age 74

Tommy Watkins, a running back for the Detroit Lions in the 1960s who also excelled at returning kicks, has died. He was 74.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Tommy Watkins, a running back for the Detroit Lions in the 1960s who also excelled at returning kicks, has died. He was 74.

The Lions say Watkins died Saturday after an extended illness.

Born Oct. 23, 1937, in West Memphis, Ark., Watkins played for the Lions from 1962-67. He averaged 34.4 yards on 17 kickoff returns in 1965, and his 90-yard punt return for a touchdown in 1963 stood as a franchise record for 37 years.

Watkins also played for Cleveland and Pittsburgh during his career. After his playing career, he coached Detroit Chadsey High School football for 35 seasons until retiring in 2006.

Watkins is survived by five children: Edna Burton, Grace Watkins, Sonya Ellis-Clark, Mark Watkins and Candace Watkins.

 

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