Herb Orvis, a former first-round draft choice of the Lions, died Friday in his adopted hometown of Goodyear, Arizona, Brendan Savage of mlive.com reports. Orvis was 73.
Orvis was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2008.
Orvis’ longtime fiancée, Marilu Trainor, said Orvis donated his brain to the CTE Center at Boston University.
“He said, ‘I want to do this for my brothers,’” Trainor told Savage. “That’s the kind of guy he was. He was frequently the team union leader. He fought for what you and I would think are ridiculously small things. But he said, ‘This is important for my brothers, so I’m going to do it. He always put everybody else before himself.
“I told him last week, ‘I will continue to do my best to keep your legacy alive.’ Through the donation, his legacy is going to live.”
The Lions made Orvis the 16th overall choice out of Colorado in 1972. The defensive lineman spent the first six seasons of his NFL career in Detroit before playing his final four seasons with the Baltimore Colts.
He started 104 of 122 career games.
In 1975, Orvis earned second-team all-conference honors by United Press International.
Orvis has spots in the College Football Hall of Fame, Colorado Hall of Fame and Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame.