ESPN is reporting that Blair Kiel, a former four-year starting quarterback for Notre Dame, died Sunday afternoon after suffering a heart attack in his Columbus, Indiana home. He was 50 years old.
Officials are awaiting toxicology and tissue tests.
Following a successful High School football career, in which he lead Indiana’s Columbus East High School to a state title as a senior in 1979, Kiel played for Notre Dame from 1980-83, completing 297 of 609 passes for 3,650 yards with 17 touchdowns and 32 interceptions.
In addition to setting the record for the longest pass in Notre Dame history with a 96-yarder to Joe Howard against Georgia Tech in 1981, Kiel was also a punter who punted 260 times for a 40.67-yard average that ranked second only behind Bill Shakespeare’s 40.71-yard mark (Kiel set a Notre Dame career mark with his 10,534 punting yards).
After his career at Notre Dame ended, Blair Kiel was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1984 but did not make his NFL debut until 1986 with the Indianapolis Colts. He started one game for the Colts and two for the Green Bay Packers.
Over his seven-year NFL career, Kiel played in 25 games and completed 56 percent of his passes for 1,296 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Besides being remembered for his own football prowess, Blair Kiel was also known as the uncle of Gunner Kiel, one of the top quarterback prospects in the class of 2012, committing to Notre Dame earlier this year after breaking a verbal commitment to Indiana.
Gunner Kiel is expected to compete for the Irish starting job this season.