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Jim Irsay salutes Art Donovan

Defensive tackle passed away Sunday Aaron Wilson

Print This August 05, 2013, 12:01 PM EST

One of the most colorful characters in NFL history, Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Art Donovan died Sunday from a respirator ailment.

He was 88, leaving behind a legacy of grittiness, stout play and a lot of laughter with his patented one-liners.

Colts owner Jim Irsay saluted Donovan in this statement.

"On a weekend when the NFL welcomed more players into the Hall of Fame, we lost one of its most significant enshrinees, Art Donovan," Irsay said. "Art was the first Colts player to be inducted into the Hall, and his roots date back to the very start of the franchise. Art was a battle-tested veteran who stood among the giants in helping lead the Colts to their first two world championships.

"While many later knew Art as a colorful ambassador to the sport because of his personality, those who played alongside and against him attest to his grit and greatness. Art is a beloved figure to many and is the only player to wear number 70 in Colts history. His number is retired among Colts greats. Art truly is an unforgettable figure in our sport, and we extend our sympathies to his family."

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

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