Former Gophers standout Charlie Sanders dies at 68


Former Gophers football great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Charlie Sanders has died.

The Hall of Fame announced Sanders' death on Thursday. The 68-year-old former NFL tight end had been battling cancer.

While at Minnesota, the Star Tribune notes that Sanders was all-Big Ten for the Gophers in 1967, the last time Minnesota won a Big Ten championship.

That season he caught 21 passes for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Sanders had been battling cancer for several months. According to the Detroit Morning Sun, doctors discovered the deadly disease when he underwent knee surgery in February.

He spent 10 years with the Lions and was a seven-time Pro Bowler. Sanders was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.

Sanders wasn't just a football player. During his Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the tight end known for his toughness, offered a poem he had written years before:

"Here today, gone tomorrow. If you don't accept it, it's a life of sorrow.

Trying to use our God given talent, being brave like a knight, bold and gallant.

Those who can make it feel lucky indeed. It's God's own way of letting you succeed.

Our efforts we extend in hopes to win. Some play their hearts, others just pretend.

So give your all and nothing less. Today we win, tomorrow we rest.

You're not just my teammate, but my very best friend.

Let's play together until the end.

Today we hang together, just you and me. For tomorrow is a day we may never see."

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