Former Detroit Lions Quarterback And Fugitive From Justice, Jeff Komlo

Jeff Komlo

One of the more interesting pieces in the news recently that has ties to the football world is the death of Jeff Komlo. Since leaving the NFL in the early 1980s, Komlo had gone on to face assault charges, drug charges, be suspected in multiple arson crimes, and fled the country to avoid prosecution. Last week he died outside of Athens, Greece in a fatal car crash.

After graduating from the University of Delaware and being drafted in the 9th round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions (his football rookie card appears above), Komlo went on to have a five year NFL career that included being the starting quarterback for Detroit during his rookie season. Komlo and the Lions would put up a 2-14 record that season (Komlo himself going 2-12 as the starter) and that would be enough to seek the quarterback moved back to the bench for the remainder of his career. Komlo stayed two more seasons with Detroit before moving on for one season with the Atlanta Falcons and one season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before his NFL career was over.

A few interesting facts about Jeff Komlo:

-Jeff Komlo is the first former NFL player to be featured on the television show America’s Most Wanted.

-As the quarterback for the University of Delaware Blue Hens, Jeff Komlo would set eleven school passing records.

-Other quarterbacks taken in the 1979 NFL Draft include:
Before Jeff Komlo: Jack Thompson (Washington State), Phil Simms (Morehead State), Joe Montana (Notre Dame), Steve Dils (Stanford), Dan Manucci (Kansas State), Rick Leach (Michigan), Chuck Fusina (Penn State), and Mike Moroski (California-Davis).
After Jeff Komlo: Jeff Rutledge (Alabama), Dave Marler (Mississippi State), Danny Sanders (Carson-Newman), Dave Rader (Tulsa), and Larry Fortner (Miami of Ohio).

-During his rookie season, his only season as a starting quarterback, Jeff Komlo led the league in fumble recoveries with six.

-Notable quarterbacks who have played for the Detroit Lions and threw for fewer touchdown passes for the team than Jeff Komlo did (12) include: Mike McMahon, Joe Ferguson, Gus Frerotte, Dan Orlovsky, Rusty Hilger, Frank Reich, Andre Ware, Daunte Culpepper, Don Majkowski, Ty Detmer, Jeff Garcia, and former NFL head coach Sam Wyche.

-Of Jeff Komlo’s twelve career touchdown passes, almost half of them (5) went to wide receiver Freddie Scott.

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