FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- If rookie New England Patriots guard Ted Karras' success in the NFL is tied to his handshake, he's going to crush it. One of the Patriots' sixth-round draft picks (221st overall), the Illinois alum crunched one reporter's hand after a recent interview, which is reflective of his style of play on the field.
"He's a big physical kid," Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia said. "We like those kind of players."
The bloodlines of the 6-foot-3, 307-pound Karras are well documented.
He's the latest to carry the football torch, as the seventh member of his family to play in the Big Ten. Among the family members he follows into the NFL are his late great uncle Alex Karras, an Iowa alum and four-time Pro Bowler with the Detroit Lions who later became an actor and starred in the 1980s sitcom "Webster." Also, his grandfather Ted was part of the 1963 Chicago Bears championship team.
Photos: Rookies Joe Thuney (left) and Ted Karras look like they will fit right in on Patriots o-line. pic.twitter.com/TRBQUp2pU6— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) May 11, 2016
"[He] told a lot of stories about being on the Bears in the 60s, shared winning the world championship in '63, which was the biggest thrill of his life, and playing rivals like [Eugene] ‘Big Daddy' Lipscomb of the Colts," Karras relayed. "So I think I have a pretty good grasp of NFL history."
But ask the 23-year-old Karras about a "Webster" episode, and the knowledge isn't as rich.
"You know, I wasn't a huge 'Webster' guy. I'm more of a 'Blazing Saddles' kind of guy. Or 'Porky's,'" he said with a smile.
Of course, Alex Karras starred in "Blazing Saddles" and "Porky's" as well.
When Ted took a visit to UCLA in his final year of high school, he spent the day with his great uncle in Hollywood Hills, which he recalled as a "cool" experience.
Now Karras is experiencing life in the NFL, which has been a longtime goal for him, well before he started 43 games at Illinois from 2012-2015. He seems to have a booster in Scarnecchia, the Patriots' offensive line coach who returned after a two-year absence.
"I really like [him]. He's a unique kid in a lot of ways," Scarnecchia said. "Unbelievable work ethic, really a good person, [and] very, very tough. Not as athletic as some, but he's smart and always going to be in the right position. He can play center and guard, and we're looking for him to help in any way he can."