The Jets lost a member of their original Titans of New York family with word of the death on Friday of tackle Jack Klotz, 87, who passed away surrounded by his family.
Klotz played football at Widener University and Penn Military. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 18th round (216th overall) of the 1956 NFL Draft. After his release, he played service ball in his two years in the Marines, then made stops with the Rams again and the Steelers and with the Sarnia Golden Bears, the champions in 1958-59 of the Ontario Rugby Football Union league in Canada.
He didn't make it to the regular season in the American pro game until he hooked on with the Titans in the newly formed American Football League in 1960. He got a starting assignment in the first game in franchise history, against Buffalo at the Polo Grounds on Sept. 11, 1960, blocking for QBs Dick Jamieson and Al Dorow as they targeted WRs Don Maynard and Art Powell in the Titans' rainy 27-3 win.
Klotz started for the Titans that season, then played in all 14 games in 1961 and three more in '62 before he was released and signed with the San Diego Chargers. He returned to the Titans, then newly christened the New York Jets, to start and play in 13 games in 1963. After suffering multiple injuries in a 1964 training camp collision, the Jets waived him. He finished his pro career with the Houston Oilers in '64 and retired the next summer.
"I don't especially want to hang 'em up," Klotz told his hometown newspaper, the Delaware County Daily Times, at the time. "In fact, the more I think about it, the more depressing it gets. But that injury last summer, plus I bruised my heel and it hasn't responded to treatment, helped me make up my mind.
"Football has been good to me and I've gotten quite a bit out of it. I'll get a pension from the AFL. But I'm still not crazy about retiring."
Klotz told his family and friends he loved being a part of the Jets/Titans organization, and he was one of the O-line building blocks who helped the Green & White rise toward their Super Bowl III win and beyond. Our condolences go out to the Klotz family.