By Conrad Clowers
Herald Sports Writer
Ted Karras is an established player in the NFL. He’s done it all. He has two Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots, has played with three teams, and has played with three star quarterbacks in Tom Brady, Tua Tagavailoa, and Joe Burrow. There’s not much more that could surprise this Bengal rough veteran.
For TV lovers, Emanuel Lewis starred in the 80’s sitcom “Webster.” His adopted father was played by NFL Hall of Fame member Alex Karras. Alex Karras would star for the Lions from 1958 to 1970. He would also go on to conquer film (starring in “Paper Lion”) and television. While the Bengals center Ted Karras has yet to make his mark in any film or television work, his body of work in the NFL has a strong foundation.
Karras was drafted in the 6th round out of Illinois by the New England Patriots in 2016. After the Bengals unexpectedly reached and nearly won the 2022 Super Bowl, they were prevented from getting a Super Bowl ring due to a glaring deficiency. The offensive line was substandard. In the February 2022, Super Bowl Bengal QB Joe Burrow was sacked seven times. The team knew they would have to totally overhaul the offensive line if they were going to reach the Super Bowl again and keep Joe Burrow healthy. It would be the very next month the team would sign Karass to a 3-year, 18-million-dollar contract to anchor the offensive line at center.
Once Karras and several other offensive lineman were signed, the sacks became fewer and Bengal QB Burrow became much more comfortable in the pocket.
Outside of preventing sacks, there are no real stats for offensive lineman. It’s the only real position which can’t be stat measured. Reputation can many times be built on pancake blocks (meaning knocking a defender onto the ground).
Karras has solidified an offensive line that features himself, Cordell Volson, Alex Kappa, Orlando Brown Jr, and Jonah Williams. Of the five starting offensive linemen, Karras has the most NFL experience of 8 years.
Cincinnati currently sits at 5-4 coming off a tough, unexpected overtime loss to the Houston Texans here Sunday. The team has a critical Thursday showdown with the Baltimore Ravens, who are also coming off a loss. Baltimore has one of the best defenses in the NFL. Karras and the rest of the O-line will have their work cut out for them.
As for the 8-year veteran and Illinois grad, every week is a grind going up against some of the NFL’s toughest defensive lines. This week will be no different.