45. Terry Barr, WR, 1957-1965
Terry Barr was a member of the Detroit Lions from 1957 until 1965. During the era when running the ball was first priority, Barr managed to still put up big numbers, even by todays standards.
The Lions selected Barr in the third round of the 1957 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, he played in the NFL Championship Game. In Detroit’s 59–14 win over Cleveland, Barr intercepted a pass and returned it 19 yards for a score. Currently, he ranks eleventh on the Lions all-time receiving list with 227 receptions, 3,810 yards and 35 touchdowns catches. He was selected to two Pro Bowls in his NFL career.
Barr attended Central High School and played in the Grand Rapids City League. He is a member of the Grand Rapids, and Michigan Sports Halls of Fame. Barr died on 28 May 2009 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Following his passing, Lions President, Tom Lewand had this to say of Barr:
“Terry Barr was a true gentleman, not only was he an outstanding player throughout his career with the Lions, University of Michigan, and Grand Rapids Central, but he was a genuinely kind and endearing man. Anyone who had the honor of knowing Terry loved him.”
“I don’t think Terry ever dropped a ball,” said fellow Lions receiver Gail Cogdill. “My kids just loved him. I loved him. He had great speed and was a class man and leader.”
Barr retired after the 1965 season and went into business.
In 1982, Barr was reported to be a potential buyer of the Detroit Red Wings franchise of the National Hockey League alongside former teammates Joe Schmidt and Nick Pietrosante. The team was eventually sold that year to Mike Ilitch.
In addition to being a great Lions receiver, Barr was one of the more notable characters in George Plimpton’s classic Paper Lion (hence the choice of footage here).