Chiefs Legend, NFL Hall of Famer Reveals Battle With Stage 4 Cancer

Curley Culp

Getty Kansas City Chiefs legend Curley Culp dons his Pro Football Hall of Fame jacket at a party on February 3, 2018.

From 1968 to 1974, defensive tackle Curley Culp was a stalwart for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Over his six and a half seasons with the franchise, Culp became a staple of the Chiefs defense that helped KC defeat the Minnesota Vikings in the 1969 Super Bowl. He finished as a 14-year NFL veteran who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

On November 16, Culp announced on social media that he is battling stage 4 cancer.

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Culp Speaks out to Spread Awareness

In a heartfelt message on Twitter, Culp revealed his ongoing fight with pancreatic cancer.

He stated: “To my followers, family and friends I have stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Do donate to your local cancer organizations so this dreaded disease is eradicated. Love life, family and friends. 🙏 pray to God for all physical and spiritual healing. Love, Curley Culp HOF#13.”

In a truly selfless call to action, Culp asked for nothing in return, other than donations that may help cancer victims in the future. Most of us, if not all of us, know someone close or distant that has gone through what the NFL legend is going through now.

It may not have been pancreatic cancer, but the pain and impact of any disease of this magnitude cannot be understated. Our hearts go out to Culp, as well as his family and friends.

A quote from his Hall of Fame bio felt appropriate. Culp once said:

I have learned that football is not just a sport, but a life lesson in what it means to be a team player…I have learned how pain can build character and endurance, and believe that life itself is like playing a very long and exciting football game where every play can determine the outcome.

There is no questioning this man’s character or endurance. Stay strong Curley, your football game has not ended yet.

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Culp’s Accomplishments & Statistics

Culp was a Denver Broncos second-round pick in 1968, but the franchise traded him away after trying to use him as an offensive guard. The Chiefs didn’t make the same mistake, keeping the 6-foot-2 lineman on the defensive side.

According to Pro Football Reference, Culp accumulated 37.0 sacks with Kansas City in 82 games, as well as five fumble recoveries. Halfway through his seventh season with the franchise, the defensive tackle was traded to the Houston Oilers.

That was where Culp really broke out as a consistent force in the trenches. In 1975, he was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by the Newspaper Enterprise Association. With the Oilers, Culp tallied on 31.5 more sacks for a career total of 68.5.

The Hall of Famer was also a six-time Pro Bowler (one was an AFL All-Star Game appearance), four-time second-team All-Pro, one-time first-team All-Pro and five-time All-AFC player. He finished his career with the Detroit Lions and throughout his 14 NFL campaigns, the team he played for only finished third or lower in their division a total of three seasons.

In other words, Culp was a winner, and he still is.


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