Lions defensive line coach Bob Karmelowicz came out of Miami and the college game to the Bengals and the NFL with his hair on fire (he did have reddish hair) nearly 20 years ago and never stopped coaching at the optimum level of animation and passion.
Karmelowicz battled illness for years with the same toughness he demanded of his players and when he died Saturday at 60 of nasal cancer one of the NFL’s great players paid him homage when Vikings defensive end Jared Allen told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune he was “a major influence” on his career.
Karmelowicz coached Allen in Kansas City and his other stops included Houston, Washington and Detroit. But his first pro job was on head coach Dave Shula’s staff in Cincinnati in 1992. Well aware of his resume at the University of Miami (where he taught a guy named Warren Sapp the position), Shula put him with defensive coordinator Ron Lynn. After two seasons Lynn took Karmelowicz and linebackers coach Mike Haluchak to Washington.
“I can’t say enough good things about Karm. He was an outstanding defensive line coach,” said Bengals director of football operations Jim Lippincott, who also joined the Bengals in ’92. “He had no problems coming from the college game and he became one of the great ones. A great motivator. He was also very good at personnel. He was a good scout. A very talented man.”
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