RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -Former NFL defensive lineman John H. Baker Jr. died Wednesday, his son said. He was 72.
Baker attended North Carolina Central on a football scholarship before spending 12 years in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions. He may be best known for his 1964 tackle of New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle, who was photographed sitting bloody in the end zone, according to Baker's citation in the Raleigh Hall of Fame.
In the offseason, Baker worked with the Raleigh police department as a youth counselor. When he left the NFL and returned to his hometown, he became the first black appointed to the state Parole Board, where he served eight years until being elected Wake County sheriff in 1978. Baker served in the post for 24 years, until he was defeated in 2002.
``We're holding it together,'' said Baker's son, John Baker III, adding that his father suffered a stroke earlier this year. ``We're a strong family.''
Baker and his late father, who was Raleigh's first black police officer, were inducted into the city's Hall of Fame this year. Baker became a member of the state's Sports Hall of Fame in 1972.
During his tenure as sheriff, Baker helped create a program that allowed young jailed offenders to continue their education at the John H. Baker Jr. Charter School.
Funeral arrangements were pending.
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