ATLANTA - Former Atlanta Falcon Bill Fralic has died at age 56 after a battle with cancer.
The Pennsylvania native was a 2-time All American offensive tackle at the University of Pittsburgh. He was drafted by the Falcons in the 1985 NFL draft.
Taken second overall in the draft that year, Fralic became a stalwart and unquestioned leader of the Falcons from 1985 to 1992 before finishing his career in Detroit after one season.
When the 1985 draft came, the Falcons desperately wanted Fralic and traded up two spots with Minnesota to get him.
Though he was hampered by injuries, he built a reputation as a great run blocker and despite the Falcons struggling during those years, he played on some very good offensive lines with Jeff Van Note, Jamie Dukes, Chris Hinton, John Scully and Mike Kenn. Fralic helped pave the way for running back Gerald Riggs and protected quarterbacks Chris Miller and current Falcons color analyst Dave Archer.
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From ’86 to ’89, Fralic made four consecutive Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro selection in ’86 and ’87. He made one playoff appearance with the Falcons in 1991.
“It was what it was and to say anything else I would be kidding myself. I wish we won more football games but I was comfortable that I showed up every day ready to play. I wish I could have been a little healthier," Fralic said of his years with the Falcons.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ranked Fralic as one of the top 50 Falcons of all time.
As good as he was on the field, he was also very outspoken off it and in 1989 testified in a U.S. Senate hearing about the rampant use of steroids in the NFL, pushing for stricter testing. Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, said Fralic’s testimony was “refreshing and believable.”
Fralic lived in Roswell with his wife, Susan, and his two English Bulldogs, Daisy and Charlie.
Fralic has a property and causality insurance company that dealt primarily with trucking companies across the county. He was also very involved with fund-raising for rescuing English Bulldogs.
Information from Channel 2's Cox Media Group sister station WPXI-TV and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in this report.
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