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Ex-center Banonis, who helped Lions win two titles, dies at 89

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Vince Banonis, who was the starting center for the Detroit Lions' NFL championship teams in 1952 and 1953, has died at the age of 89.

The Lions said Monday that the standout two-way player died Saturday at Providence Hospital in Southfield. The team didn't announce a cause of death.

Banonis was a star at the University of Detroit as a linebacker and center and was drafted in 1942 by the Chicago Cardinals. His sports career took a break while he served as a Navy lieutenant during World War II, but he was able to help Chicago win the 1947 title before his career with Detroit.

Banonis retired after winning the second of two titles in Detroit. He was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1975 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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