Baltimore lost a cherished member of the city’s rich football history Sunday night.
Former Baltimore Colts legend Art Donovan died Sunday of a respiratory ailment at the age of 89.
“We lost a friend, one of the finest men and one of the greatest characters we were fortunate to meet in this community and in this business,” Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti said.
“Baltimore is now without one of its best and someone who was a foundation for the tremendous popularity of football in our area. The world is not as bright tonight because we lost someone who could make us all smile.”
Donovan was a member of the original Baltimore Colts franchise when they drafted him in 1950, after his service in World War II. During his 12-year career, Donovan became one of the premier defenders in the NFL. The big defensive tackle was a member of the 1950s All-Decade team, and he was a key piece of the defense during Baltimore’s 1958 and 1959 championship seasons.
Donovan was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968, in just the sixth class ever. He earned induction in his second year of eligibility.
Donovan was known as much for his personality off the field as his play on it. He had a great sense of humor and quick wit, and had an ability to bring a laugh out of most everybody. Donovan made multiple appearances on Johnny Carson and David Letterman’s late-night talk shows.
Donovan is a member of the Ravens’ Ring of Honor, along with fellow Colts’ legends Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, Jon Mackey, Jim Parker and Ted Hendricks.