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Carl Eller (born January 25, 1942) was a professional American football player in the National Football League from 1964 through 1979. He was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolinamarker and attended the University of Minnesotamarker. He was Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker in 2004.

College career

At the University of Minnesotamarker Eller joined Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans, via the Mu Chapter while at the University of Minnesota.

As a sophomore, Eller helped lead the Gophers to a Rose Bowl victory. While Eller shared the starting position as a sophomore he became a full-time, two-way player as a junior and senior and was voted All-America both years. During his time in college the Gophers were National Champions as well as Big Ten champions. As a senior (1963) Eller was the runner-up for the Outland Trophy. Following each football season, the Carl Eller Award is given to the University of Minnesota's Defensive Player of the Year. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Famemarker in 2006.

NFL career

In 1964 Eller was drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He was also drafted in the first round of the American Football League Draft by the Buffalo Bills, who did not sign him. As the left defensive end in the Vikings front four, he was a major factor in the unit known as the "Purple People Eaters"

Starting in 1968, Eller's fifth campaign, Minnesota won 10 Central Division titles in the next 11 seasons. The Vikings won the 1969 NFL championship and NFC crowns in 1973, 1974, and 1976 and played in four Super Bowls. Eller was named the AP Defensive Player of the Week after week 9, 1968.

He was selected to play in six Pro Bowls (1968-1971, 1973, and 1974). After being traded with an eighth round pick to Seattle Seahawks for defensive tackle Steve Niehaus, Eller played his final season in 1979 with the Seattle Seahawks where he ran his career total to 225 games. In his career "Moose" only missed three games and started 209 out of the 225 he played.

He played in a total 225 regular season games. Is credited as the Vikings all-time sack leader with 130½ . Also had 3 sacks with Seahawks in 1979 for a career total of 133½. Set career-high 15 sacks in 1969 and then matched that total eight years later. Has to his credit 7 seasons with 10 or more sacks.

Eller was All-NFL from 1968-71, and again in 1973. He was also 2nd team All-Pro in 1967 and 1972 and was All-NFC by AP and The Sporting News in 1975. Matched with his Pro Bowls, Eller had a nine-year consecutive streak with some sort of post-season honor which began in 1967 with his 2nd team All-pro selection and ended in 1975 with his All-NFC honors.

He was voted the George S. Halas Trophy in 1971 as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year as awarded by the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) .

Honors in Retirement

In 2004, Eller was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker.

In 2000, Eller was named to the Vikings' 40th Anniversary Team.

Life After Football

As a licensed drug and alcohol counselor, Eller founded a group of substance-abuse clinics in the Twin Cities called Triumph Life Centers in 1986.He obtained a college degree in Human Services from Metropolitan State Universitymarker in 1994 and went on to work for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, addressing issues of health disparities between white people and people of color.

From 1997 to 2001 Eller collaborated with Craig M. Rosenblum on Carl Eller's Viking News, on the frontier of online sports journalism by and for fans in Minnesota.

On February 27, 2006, he was arrested for DUI.

On April 10, 2008, he was arrested for fourth-degree assault on police officers, fleeing police in a motor vehicle, refusing to take an alcohol test and driving while intoxicated. His fight with police officers ensued even after he was tazed several times.. The complaint referred to Eller throwing Officer Seth Porras onto the hood of his Mercedes. He then allegedly punched Officer Gil Antaya in the face and grabbed his calf, index finger and thumb. Porras and Antaya were briefly hospitalized. At the time, police noted a "strong odor of alcoholic beverages" on Eller. The squad car was not equipped with audio of video recording equipment, so no video or audio evidence could be made available at the request of his defense attorney. His trial was scheduled for December 29, 2008 before Hennepin County District Courtmarker Judge Dan Mabley, but was postponed. Two felony charges against Eller were later dropped. On January 26, 2009, he was found guilty of the remaining two charges: assault on a police officer and refusal to take a sobriety test. He was sentenced to 60 days in the county workhouse beginning on February 23, 2009, to be followed by 60 days of electronic home monitoring and a $3,000 fine.

In January 2009, he sued the Minneapolismarker Police Department over the circumstances of the arrest, claiming that officers violated his civil rights, used excessive force and concealed videotape evidence. The suit, filed in federal court, seeks damages of more than $75,000, plus punitive damages. The Minneapolis Police Department has dismissed his claims as baseless.

Eller has previously acknowledged personal problems with substance abuse, and he has spoken publicly to groups about the problems of chemical dependency. He has worked as a substance abuse treatment counselor.

Films and Television

  • Busting (1974) as a huge black man
  • The Black Six (1974) as Jr. Bro Williams
  • The Fall Guy pilot (1981) as Tony
  • Taggert


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