INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Curtis, one of the greatest defensive players in Colts franchise history, passed away on Monday at the age of 77.
"Rest In Peace, Mike Curtis," Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay tweeted on Monday. "One of the game's most legendary non-Hall-of-Famers. Ferocious on the field, a gentleman off the field."
Born March 27, 1943, in Rockville, Md., Curtis, who starred at Duke University, was the Baltimore Colts' first-round (14th-overall) selection in the 1965 NFL Draft. Originally taken as a fullback, Curtis would eventually switch to linebacker, and would go on to make several notable plays over his 14-year career with the Colts (1965-75), the Seattle Seahawks (1976) and the Washington Redskins (1977-78).
Curtis' most memorable performance came in the Colts' victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V. With the two teams tied at 13 and just 1:09 left in the game, Curtis intercepted Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton's pass attempt intended for running back Dan Reeves, returning it 13 yards to the Dallas 28-yard line.
Three plays later, Jim O'Brien would connect on a game-winning 32-yard field goal to give the Colts their first Super Bowl title in franchise history.
Known affectionately by fans as "Mad Dog," Curtis was a four-time Pro Bowl selection with the Colts (1968, 1970, 1971 and 1974), and twice he was named First-Team All-Pro (1968 and 1969). In 1970, he was named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Year at the NFL 101 Awards.
In his 11-year career with the Colts, Curtis, who played in 125 games with 105 starts in Baltimore, was credited with 21 interceptions (two of which he returned for a touchdown) as well as eight fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown).