The killer was a giant in our business

Written By: Terry Foster | August 30, 2011

Filed Under: sports

I do not have a heart warming story to share with you about Lions beat writer Tom “Killer” Kowalski. Our relationship was not like that.  It was filled with jabs and one liners.

He made fun of Barack Obama. I made fun of Sarah Palin. He made fun of my radio show. I said his stunk. He made fun of my columns. I told him to stop making things up. Then we’d go out and have a beer.

We never hugged. We never said “you are my best pal.” We were like guys in the dressing room. It was rough. It was frank and our talks were always entertaining. But in time of crisis he’d make sure to say he was sorry and hoped I was doing well. I did the same to him.

The Killer is gone now and it doesn’t make much sense. He was just 51 and I always viewed him as a big and strong guy who’d be with us forever.

The Killer was a giant St. Bernard. He was playful and always had that flask of brandy tied around his neck.  He was also a giant in our business. Mike O’Hara of the Detroit News and Curt Sylvester of the Free Press were the authorities on the Lions for many years while Killer learned from them. Then he became the guy everybody read to find out what was going on.

He didn’t always get it right, but he sure kept on trying to get it. He was an aggressive reporter who loved covering the Lions and became a legend in NFL circles. He was entertaining as

Here is something about the Killer you probably didn’t know. He wore shorts just about every day. I’d come into the Lions press room freezing my butt off and Tom would be sitting there in shorts. I told him several times how crazy he was. He responded simply by saying “I’m tough.”

I will miss him because he was a good dude. I will miss him because you never knew what was coming out of his mouth.

“I see 1270 is going conservative talk,” he said to me the other day. “They are finally getting it right.”

He was that brother who jabbed you all the time and you always enjoyed jabbing him back.

The Detroit journalism community dabs a wet eye today. He sure will be missed.

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3 Responses to “The killer was a giant in our business”

  1. Jordon Says:

    Very nice column Terry. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Killer’s work at a young age by my dad and have followed him vigorously on mlive and more recently on twitter. Finally had a chance to meet him at a lions game last year and got the same vibe from him as how you described him as a person. Although i did not know him personally, i will miss him very much, lions coverage certainly will not be the same without him.

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