Former Denver Broncos player, John Gonzaga, dead at 74

Updated: May 21, 2007, 9:30 AM ET
Associated Press

WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Former Detroit Lions lineman John Gonzaga, who was working in a steel mill when he was signed by the San Francisco 49ers in 1956, has died.

He was 74.

Gonzaga died Thursday at his home in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield Township in Oakland County, according to the Lions and McCabe Funeral Home in Farmington Hills.

A cause of death wasn't released, McCabe Funeral Home said. The team said Gonzaga's death followed a lengthy illness.

Born in Martinez, Calif., Gonzaga played five seasons for Detroit (1961-65) and worked for Ford Motor Co. during the offseason. He also played for the 49ers (1956-59), the Dallas Cowboys (1960) and the Denver Broncos (1966).

After retiring from professional football, he was a general sales manager for Ford's glass division before he started his own glass company.

Gonzaga is survived by his wife Madonna, four daughters, seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren, five brothers and three sisters.

Visitation was scheduled for Monday at McCabe Funeral Home, and no public funeral service was planned.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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