Mike Montler, one of Colorado’s All-American offensive lineman and Vietnam War veteran, has died at the age of 74.
A Columbus, Ohio native, the 6-foot-5, 260-pounder enrolled at CU during Eddie Crowder’s second year in 1964. Prior to becoming a Buff, Montler served in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from St. Mary’s High School in Ohio. Along with being named a consensus first-team All-American in 1968 (Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association/Kodak), Montler was an honorable mention for CU’s All-Century team in 1989. He captured the Ernie Davis Memorial Award in the 1969 Coaches All-American Game.
The beast-like center was a 2nd round pick (32nd overall) of the Boston Patriots in the 1969 NFL Draft. At the time, Montler was the highest selection of any Colorado player following the NFL-AFL merger. He went as a four-year starter for the Patriots before joining the Buffalo Bills in 1973, becoming part of the Bills’ “Electric Company” offensive line that paved the way for O.J. Simpson’s 2,003 yard season.
Montler started 63 consecutive games along the offensive line for the Bills before being traded away to the Denver Broncos in 1977. He spent a year with Denver that resulted in an AFC championship and an appearance in Super Bowl XII vs. the Dallas Cowboys. Montler played four games in the 1978 season with the Detroit Lions before announcing his retirement.
In all, he played 126 games with 116 starts during his 10-year NFL career.