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Former Iowa State All-American linebacker Matt Blair dies at age 70

Matt Blair
Matt Blair

(KWWL) -- Iowa State University is mourning the loss of Hall of Fame linebacker Matt Blair, who died Thursday at the age of 70.

Blair, who walked on at ISU in 1969 before eventually earning a scholarship, became an All-American his senior year in 1973. Blair was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1974 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Blair played all 12 of his NFL seasons for the Vikings, starting 130 of the 160 regular season games he played in, racking up 1,452 tackles, the second-most in team history.

After becoming a starter in 1976, Blair went to six consecutive Pro Bowls (1977-82) and earned a First-Team All-Pro selection from The Associated Press in 1980. Blair still holds the Vikings team record with 20 blocked kicks (16 PAT, 3FGs, 1 punt) and also recorded more sacks (23) and interceptions (16) than any linebacker in team history. His 20 blocked kicks ranks 3rd all-time in NFL history.

A part of Vikings teams that reached Super Bowls IX and XI, Blair recovered two fumbles by the Rams in Minnesota's 24-13 victory in the 1976 NFC Championship. Blair was named to the 50 Greatest Vikings in 2010 and inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2012. He was inducted into the Iowa State University Hall of Fame in 1999.

"Matt Blair was a great presence at Vikings events and a tremendous teammate long after playing. He embodied the best of what it means to be a Viking," Vikings Owner Mark Wilf said. "Matt is a Ring of Honor player whose legacy will live on forever with the franchise and in the community he loved."

"Aside from being a tremendous athlete and player, Matt was a better man," Blair's former Vikings teammate Scott Studwell said. "He was smart, worked at his craft and gave everything for the team. He was a great teammate and fun to be around. He took his work very seriously but had a great life away from football. I'm sad to see him go."

Click here to read the Vikings full statement on the passing of Matt Blair.

Trevor Oates

Executive Producer

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