|Date of birth:June 11, 1951|
|Place of birth: Canonsburg, Pennsylvania|
|Date of death: December 16, 1983(aged 32)|
|Place of death: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|
|Undrafted in 1974|
|No regular season or postseason appearances|
|*Pittsburgh Steelers (1974)*
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NFL.com|
|Stats at pro-football-reference.com|
Unselected in the 1974 NFL Draft, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Four days later, they traded him to the Giants (for Leo Gasienica), where he played for eight years. Linebacker Harry Carson, a teammate for six seasons, once described him as "a fighter you'd like to have with you in a foxhole."
Though he was only 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m), Kotar rushed for 3,380 yards (while also receiving 1,022 yards) in his career, which was fourth most in Giants history, now ninth. Kotar was known for leading with his head while rushing, a fact that would come back to haunt him in later life.
Retirement and later death
Kotar retired after the first days training camp in July 1982, attributed to his knees and shoulder hurting, citing his family. Unfortunately, Kotar experienced massive headaches. After concerns by his family, he had a CAT scan. Only weeks into his retirement, the doctors found a brain tumor. Kotar decided to go through with invasive surgery that involved opening his skull up. However, the doctors found that the tumor was malignant, and it could not be removed. By this point, his savings were wiped out due to the medical treatments.
Kotar would later experience partial paralysis and was moved to his hometown, undergoing radiation treatment over the next few months. Only four months before his death, he was visited by 45 Giant players, officials, and coaches. Carson later stated he was going to visit Kotar again as soon as the season ended, but he never got to as he died in his sleep just 16 months after diagnosis at age 32.
- Litsky, Frank (December 17, 1983). "Kotar dies of tumor". Spokesman-Review. (New York Times) ((Spokane, Washington)): p. 25. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=f1dWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5-4DAAAAIBAJ&pg=2117%2C559825.
- "Former Giant Doug Kotar loses battle with cancer". Reading Eagle. news services ((Pennsylvania)): p. 16. December 17, 1983. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=wFciAAAAIBAJ&sjid=kacFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4043%2C6317360.
- "Gutty: Friends and teammates mourn Kotar". Pittsburgh Press. Associated Press: p. D1. December 17, 1983. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=_hshAAAAIBAJ&sjid=2GEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2334%2C612522.
- Wilhelm, Kathy (December 17, 1983). "Kotar was a fighter". The Day. Associated Press ((New London, Connecticut)): p. 19. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XTpSAAAAIBAJ&sjid=UTYNAAAAIBAJ&pg=5751%2C3761251.
- Career statistics and player information from NFL.com • Pro-Football-Reference
- Sports Reference – college football – Doug Kotar
- Doug Kotar at Find a Grave
|This biographical article relating to an American football running back born in the 1950s is a stub. You can help The American Football Database by expanding it.|