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Bill Fralic Center

Bill Fralic: A Legacy of Strength and Skill in American Football

William Peter Fralic Jr., known to the sports world as Bill Fralic, was a formidable force in American football, remembered not only for his exceptional skills on the field but also for his integrity and the respect he commanded both on and off the gridiron. Born on October 31, 1962, in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, Fralic's journey in football began at Penn Hills High School, where he first showcased the talent and work ethic that would become the hallmarks of his career.

Early Years and College Dominance

Fralic's prowess on the football field earned him a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, where he played for the Panthers from 1981 to 1984. His impact was immediate and profound, with his playing style redefining the role of an offensive lineman. Standing 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing in at over 280 pounds, Fralic possessed not just the physical attributes but the technical skills and football IQ that set him apart. He was a consensus All-American in both his junior and senior years and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1983, an unprecedented achievement for an offensive lineman.

Bill Fralic was not only an all-time player at the University of Pittsburgh, but also an all-time human being. His generosity, support and concern for others was unmatched. For as hulking a figure as he was, Billy was even larger in his kindness and passion for others. He leaves a wonderful legacy that goes well beyond football at Pitt, Penn Hills and all of Western Pennsylvania. Pat Narduzzi, Head Football Coach University of Pittsburgh

 

NFL Career and Legacy

The Atlanta Falcons selected Fralic with the second overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft, signaling the start of a professional career that would span nine seasons in the league, predominantly with the Falcons and a final year with the Detroit Lions. Fralic was a four-time Pro Bowler (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989) and is often remembered for his contributions to the art and strategy of offensive line play. He was known for his strength, agility, and the ability to dominate his opponents, earning him the nickname "Fralic the Freak" for his extraordinary athletic abilities.

Beyond his physical talents, Fralic was an advocate for clean play. He was an outspoken critic of steroid use in the NFL, testifying before the U.S. Congress in 1989 about the rampant drug problem in professional football. His stand against performance-enhancing drugs highlighted his commitment to integrity in the sport, earning him respect from peers, coaches, and fans alike.

Post-Retirement and Legacy

After retiring from professional football, Fralic made a successful transition into the business world and remained involved in football through broadcasting, sharing his insights and love for the game as a color commentator. His contributions to the sport have been recognized through numerous accolades, including induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998 and the University of Pittsburgh's Hall of Fame in 2019.

Bill Fralic passed away on December 13, 2018, after a battle with cancer, but his legacy endures. He is remembered not just for the way he played the game but for the way he lived his life – with integrity, determination, and a deep love for football. Fralic's impact on the sport and the people who knew him continues to be felt, making him a revered figure in the annals of American football history.

Bill Fralic Athletic Center with Football Field in Foreground

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