Former QB Blair Kiel dies at 50

Updated: April 9, 2012, 12:05 AM ET
By Matt Fortuna | ESPN.com

Blair Kiel, the former Notre Dame and NFL quarterback and uncle of current Irish quarterback Gunner Kiel, died Sunday at Columbus Regional Hospital, Bartholomew (Ind.) County coroner Allen Smith said.

Kiel was 50 years old.

An autopsy showed that Kiel died of natural causes shortly after noon Eastern Time. Officials are awaiting toxicology and tissue tests.

After leading Columbus East High School to a state title as a senior in 1979, Kiel played for the Irish from 1980-83, completing 297 of 609 passes for 3,650 yards with 17 touchdowns and 32 interceptions. He set the record for the longest pass in Notre Dame history with a 96-yarder to Joe Howard against Georgia Tech in 1981.

Kiel also averaged 40.67 yards on 260 punts, and had five rushing TDs for Notre Dame.

Kiel then played parts of seven seasons for three different NFL teams -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who drafted him in the 11th round of the 1984 draft, Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers.

He started three games appeared in 25 games in five seasons with the Buccaneers, Colts and Packers from 1984 to 1991. He completed 108 of 193 career passes for 1,296 yards and eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. Kiel also averaged 37.1 yards on 17 punts for the Colts.

He was most recently in the news for legal run-ins, getting arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and domestic battery in 2009 before being arrested in 2010 on suspicion of misdemeanor drunken driving.

The Columbus, Ind., native's nephew, Gunner, was one of the nation's top quarterback recruits this fall, enrolling at Notre Dame in January.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Matt Fortuna | email

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