Cathedral’s Karras carrying family tradition into Super Bowl with Patriots

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — For the Karras family, football is the family business.

“It’s just been in our DNA forever,” Ted Karras Jr., said.

“My dad played nine years in the NFL. He was on the 1963 Bears with George Halas as his coach and Mike Ditka was of course the tight end on that team that won the championship. My uncle played 12 seasons in the NFL and never got to experience a championship game.”

Cathedral High School product Ted Karras is the latest generation to play in the NFL, joining his Pro Bowler uncle, Alex; grandfather, Ted Sr., who played for Chicago; and his father, Ted Jr., and uncle, Lou, who both played with the Redskins.

In just his first year in the league, the Patriots offensive lineman will carry the family name into the Super Bowl.

“What a privilege it is for him to play for Bill Belichick, the greatest of all time now, I think he’s right up there with George Halas, who my father played for,” the junior Karras said.

The Karras lineage is so refined that they not only produce pros, they produce them by position.

“Its body type, we don’t have the athletic sleek build of some of the skill position, so we’re all linemen,” Karras Jr. said with a laugh.

Combine that with the family’s football fundamentals and tireless work ethic and those close to the youngest Ted say its no surprise he’s thriving in the Belichick system.

“Perfect fit, absolutely perfect fit,” Cathedral head coach Rick Streiff said, who coached Ted in high school. “I think Bill Belichick appreciates intelligent, hard-nosed players. If you look at the guys who have been successful there in the past, Ted’s exactly that. He’s a very intelligent player but a very tough player.”

Ted’s high school friends have led the Indy contingent of newly-minted Patriots fans making trips to Foxborough, Mass. and say his desire to be the first in the family to win a Super Bowl title is self-fueled.

“It’s not like there was pressure from his family or anyone saying you have to do this or you need to do this,” Joe Witchger, Ted’s childhood friend, explained. “It was just pressure that he felt that he took upon himself that he didn’t want to be the firstborn male in his family not to make the NFL. He set goals for himself early and set out to make them happen.”

The Irish football program has produced 11 guys to play in the NFL. With Ted’s appearance in Super Bowl LI, he’ll be the fourth Cathedral product to appear in a Super Bowl.

“It’s a special place where football is valued,” Karras Jr. says of the program. “They have excellent coaches there, they have an excellent system and they develop players.”

“Ted’s one of those guys that he’s such a grinder, he’s such a workaholic that you thought, well if there’s anyone that can make it, it’s going to be Ted,” Streiff added.

Karras’ Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, February 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

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