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Dorne Dibble, Lions world champ, Michigan State All-American, dies at 88

Dorne Dibble, a Michigan State All-American who won two championships with the Lions in the 1950s, has died. He was 88.

The Adrian native died Thursday night of pneumonia at his home in Northville, according to attorney Jim Acho, who represented Dibble and other NFL players in their concussion lawsuit against the league.

Dibble was a two-way player for the Spartans and Lions. He played receiver and defensive end at MSU and receiver and defensive back for the Lions. He played for Biggie Munn and was an All-American at MSU in 1950. The following year, the Lions drafted him in the third round, 33rd overall.

Dibble wasn’t a star for the Lions, but he was a valuable part of their championship run in the ’50s. He helped the team win the world championship in ’53 and ’57. He led the Lions in receiving yards as a rookie in 1951 and in 1954 and intercepted a pass as a rookie defensive back.

Last summer, Dibble was among the few surviving players from the Lions’ 1957 championship team who attended a luncheon the Free Press hosted in Bloomfield Twp. During a roundtable discussion, Dibble shed light on one of the great mysteries in Lions history when he unequivocally said he knew why the team had traded Hall of Fame quarterback Bobby Layne in 1958.

“George Wilson,” Dibble said of the Lions’ coach. “Bobby had more power than George and George was afraid of it.”

Dibble was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. Funeral arrangement are pending. According to Acho, Kristen Dibble plans to donate her husband’s brain to the chronic traumatic encephalopathy study being conducted in Boston.

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