Former Michigan State, NFL Star George Webster Dies

Thursday, April 19th 2007, 8:00 pm
By: News On 6

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ George Webster, the battered former Michigan State All-American and pro football star who lost a U.S. Supreme Court attempt to have his NFL disability pension increased, died Thursday. He was 61.

Michigan State University associate athletic director John Lewandowski said Webster died in Houston. He did not immediately provide other details.

Webster, an All-America defensive standout at Michigan State, was the Houston Oilers' first draft pick in 1967. He spent 5 1/2 seasons with Houston, a year and half with Pittsburgh and then played three seasons for New England.

``He beat it all, but it took a toll on his heart,'' Hank Bullough, a close friend who served as defensive cooredinator at Michigan State when Webster played for the Spartans, told the Lansing State Journal. ``People remember George not only as a great athlete but just a great guy. He had feelings for everybody.''

In 1989, Webster applied for benefits as totally and permanently disabled. He was found to have lost most use of a hand, foot, knee and ankle due to football-related injuries but did not meet the NFL's definition of totally disabled.

In 1998, the Supreme Court, let stand a finding by the NFL's retirement board that Webster's disability was not related to his football career.

Football-related disability benefits are $4,000 a month; non-football disability monthly benefits are $750.

In 2002, Webster had his right leg amputated above the knee in Houston because the limb had little circulation despite four previous surgeries.