Thursday, September 25, 2008

Walter "Wally" Hilgenberg dies at age 66

Walter "Wally" Hilgenberg died the morning of Sept. 23 at age 66. Hilgenberg, a former Minnesota Vikings linebacker, died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It was reported that Hilgenberg was surrounded by his family in his Lakeville, Minn., home when he passed away. Hilgenberg played college football at the University of Iowa. He once told the Des Moines Register:
    “The fact that I played 16 years of pro football against Gale Sayers and O.J. Simpson and Walter Payton and those kinds of guys was thrilling to me,” Hilgenberg told The Register in 1987. “I look back now at what kind of great athletes they were, and the fact that I was competitive against them amazes me.”
Hilgenberg played in four Super Bowls with the Vikings. In played in the NFL 16 seasons with the Vikings and the Detroit Lions. Hilgenberg was drafted by the Lions in 1964 in the fourth round. In 1968 was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers and was then waived by the team. He landed with the Vikings.

Earlier this year, wrote a story about Hilgenberg:
    During the twilight of his career, he recalls re-entering Met Stadium shortly after a win that helped get the team into the playoffs once again. Forty-five minutes previous, he said the stadium was so lively and now when he went back to sit in the bleachers to think about the win, the stadium was not just cold and empty.

    “I looked at my wife (Mary) and said, ‘That’s a lot like my life,’” Hilgenberg recalled.

    Mary said she had been trying to tell him that feeling was because he was missing Christ in his life. She had come to faith six months before and prodded him to start thinking about it. Wally recalled sitting in a hotel room during a road game and finally getting out his King James Bible and started to really feel connected to his faith.
Added this video Sept. 28, 2008.


CTV Sportnight said...

Wally was a great NFL player but a better person. Check out this TV interview:

Anonymous said...

This isn't rare because I have known this man used to buy viagra in big quantities, that's the reason he died because he got an overdose.

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