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Ex-East, Notre Dame star Blair Kiel dies at 50


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COLUMBUS, Ind. — Ex-NFL quarterback Blair Kiel, a star signal caller at Columbus East High School in the late 1970s and at the University of Notre Dame in the early 1980s, died Sunday afternoon in the emergency room of Columbus Regional Hospital.

He was 50.

Bartholomew County Coroner Alan Smith said Kiel was taken to the hospital from a relative's home here at about 12:10 p.m.

He died at 12:21 p.m.,, said Clayton Nolting, deputy coroner. Smith said Kiel died of natural causes.

An autopsy was performed, but final results were not available by late Sunday, Smith said.

Kiel led the Olympians to their first state championship as a senior in 1979, the year he was rated the No. 3 quarterback in the nation by Parade magazine.

Kiel finished his high school career by earning All-State honors. He totaled 4,214 passing yards, a record at the time. He threw for 39 touchdowns and rushed for an additional 15 scores. He also kicked 94 extra points and 17 field goals.

Notre Dame coach Dan Devine saw Kiel crack the starting lineup as a freshman, four games into the 1980 season. The team achieved a 9-0-1 record and the No. 1 ranking late in the year before losses at USC and then to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

He played seven seasons as a backup in the NFL, including two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts in 1986 and 1987. He recorded his best-as-a-pro passer rating of 104.8 in four games with the Colts. He spent his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He played his four final seasons in the league with the Green Bay Packers. Kiel also played in the Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League.

He was inducted into the Indiana Indiana Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998.

 

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