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Former NFL defensive line coach Karmelowicz dies at age 60

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Bob Karmelowicz, a football coach with three-plus decades of experience, died Saturday. He was 60.

The Detroit Lions, who employed Karmelowicz as defensive line coach last season, announced Sunday that he had passed away the previous day because of an illness.

"Bob touched many lives throughout his years of coaching and positively impacted the careers of countless players at both the collegiate and professional level," Lions president Tom Lewand said in a statement released by the team. "While he was only with the Lions for one season, his contributions to our team last year were greatly appreciated and he will be missed by all of us."

Karmelowicz spent the past 18 seasons as a defensive line coach in the NFL with the Lions (2009), Houston Texans (2006-08), Kansas City Chiefs (1997-2005), Washington Redskins (1994-96) and Cincinnati Bengals (1992-93). He helped develop Mario Williams in Houston and Jared Allen in Kansas City.

Karmelowicz was at the University of Miami from 1989 to 1991, helping Warren Sapp go from tight end to defensive tackle. Sapp posted a Twitter message that said Karmelowicz asked and made him switch positions.

"Sad Day," Sapp wrote on the Web site. "We Lost a Great PASS Rushing Technique Coach!! He Really Knew His Stuff!! RIP COACH!"

Karmelowicz was from Plainville, Conn., and played at the University of Bridgeport. He also coached at Washington State, Illinois, UNLV, Texas-El Paso, Massachusetts and Arizona State.

"I've had the privilege of coaching with and against 'Karm' for a long time and he was one tough guy," Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said in the team statement. "Though his coaching success on the field speaks for itself, I will always remember him for how much he loved kids, his compassion for helping kids and how much he cared for his grandkids. That will always be his lasting impression on me."

Karmelowicz is survived by his wife, Olga; his daughters, Liz and Marissa; and his son, Dave.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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