Ken Kortas
No. 74, 75, 70
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born:(1942-05-17)May 17, 1942
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died:October 15, 2022(2022-10-15) (aged 80)
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Career information
High school:Chicago (IL) Taft
NFL draft:1964 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9
AFL draft:1964 / Round: 3 / Pick: 18
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played:73
Fumble recoveries:4
Player stats at · PFR

Kenneth Conrad Kortas (May 17, 1942 – October 15, 2022) was an American professional football player who was a defensive tackle for six seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Chicago Bears from 1964 to 1969.

Early life

Kortas was born in Chicago, Illinois, United States, on May 17, 1942.[1][2] He attended Taft High School in his hometown.[1] He then studied at the University of Louisville, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 1963.[2][3] There, he played football for the Louisville Cardinals and received All-American honors.[3][4] He was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round (18th overall) of the 1964 American Football League draft, but did not sign.[1] He was also selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1964 NFL Draft, becoming the sixth player from Louisville to be drafted in the NFL.[5] At the time of his death, Kortas was the highest NFL draft selection from the university.[2][6]

Professional career

During his 1964 rookie season, Kortas played in 14 games (5 starts) and was credited with 0.5 sacks.[1] He was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers on February 17, 1965, in exchange for Terry Nofsinger.[7] He recorded 2 fumble recoveries and 2 sacks in 14 games (10 starts) in his first season with the franchise, before registering a career-high 7 sacks the following year. In the 1967 season, he started all 14 games as he was tied for the league lead in fumble return touchdowns (1), along with 3.5 sacks and 5 fumble return yards.[1] He played one more season with the Steelers, and was traded to the Chicago Bears two weeks before the start of the 1969 season, having been displaced as defensive tackle by new coach Chuck Noll in favor of Joe Greene.[1][8]

Kortas played just three games with the Bears,[1] before retiring from professional football in 1970.[2] He was inducted into Louisville's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1979.[3]

Personal life

Kortas was married to Judith Ann Kortas for 33 years until his death. Together, they had one daughter.[2] Kortas speculated in futures exchanges during his playing career and lost money speculating on hog futures after the 1965 season.[9] He resided in suburban Louisville, Kentucky, during his later years.[10]

Kortas died on October 15, 2022, at the Norton Brownsboro Hospital in Louisville. He was 80 years old.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Ken Kortas Stats". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Kenneth Kortas Obituary". The Sentinel-News. Shelbyville, Kentucky. October 18, 2022. Retrieved October 20, 2022 – via
  3. ^ a b c "Ken Kortas (1979)". Louisville Cardinals. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  4. ^ "UofL Breakfast Club". University of Louisville. August 25, 2015. Archived from the original on October 20, 2022. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  5. ^ McGavic, Matthew (April 21, 2020). "The five highest NFL Draft picks in Louisville history". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  6. ^ Adelson, Andrea (April 28, 2016). "Todd Grantham explains why Louisville DT Sheldon Rankins should be first-round pick". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  7. ^ "St. Louis Gets a Back in Deal". The New York Times. United Press International. February 17, 1965. p. 54. ProQuest 116754657. Retrieved October 20, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  8. ^ Rutter, Joe (June 17, 2020). "'Burgh's Best to Wear It, No. 75: Joe Greene nearly wore another number to fame with Steelers". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  9. ^ Roberts, Randy, ed. (February 22, 2000). Pittsburgh Sports: Stories From The Steel City. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 61. ISBN 9780822972334.
  10. ^ Bradford, Chris (November 2, 2014). "The story of No. 75". The Beaver County Times. Beaver, Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on October 20, 2022. Retrieved October 20, 2022.