Curley Culp, a Pro Football Hall of Fame nose tackle who anchored some of Bum Phillips’ great defenses with the Houston Oilers, announced on Tuesday that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The 75-year-old, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013, made the announcement on Twitter, posting: “To my followers, family and friends I have stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Do donate to your local cancer organizations so this dreaded disease is eradicated. Love life, family and friends. Pray to God for all physical and spiritual healing. Love, Curley Culp HOF#13.”
After making two Pro Bowls in his first six seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, Culp was traded to Houston in one of the best trades in Oilers history. In the middle of the 1974 season, the Oilers sent John Matuszak to Kansas City for Culp and a first-round draft pick, which ended up being seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Robert Brazile.
To my followers, family and friends I have stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Do donate to your local cancer organizations so this dreaded disease is eradicated. Love life, family and friends. 🙏 pray to God for all physical and spiritual healing. Love, Curley Culp HOF#13.— Curley Culp (@CurleyCulp) November 16, 2021
Culp went on to make four straight Pro Bowls with the Oilers, including the 1975 season when he had 11.5 sacks and was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Culp played on both of the Oilers teams that lost to the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, which to this day, are still the only Houston professional football teams to make it to a conference final.
“Bum was a player’s coach,” Culp said in his Hall of Fame induction speech. “When they traded for me, a whole new dimension of defensive football began for me. Playing nose tackle was a hallmark of Bum’s defensive strategy. A huge shout-out to Bum and the Oilers, the guy who set in motion an Astrodome era that was like no other. It made my time with the Oilers unforgettable.”
Culp was an NCAA wrestling heavyweight champion during his college days at Arizona State and finished his NFL career in 1981 with the Detroit Lions.
Written by Matt Young