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Dimitrius Underwood
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Defensive end
Jersey #(s)
Born March 29, 1977 (1977-03-29) (age 32)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Career information
Year(s) 19992005
NFL Draft 1999 / Round: 1 / Pick: 29
College Michigan State
Professional teams
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career stats
Games played 19
Tackles 4
Sacks 4
Stats at
Career highlights and awards
  • No notable achievements

Dimitrius Paul Underwood (born March 29, 1977 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a former professional American football defensive end in the National Football League for the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, and Dallas Cowboys. Underwood also had a brief stint in the Canadian Football League's Ottawa Renegades in mid-2005.

Underwood played college football at Michigan State University and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the 29th overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. However, Underwood had missed most of his senior year, and his coaches at Michigan State warned NFL scouts that he wasn't mentally stable enough to play in the NFL.

After being drafted, he signed a five year, $5.3 million contract in August 1, 1999 but walked out of training camp the next day and never returned, saying he could not resolve the conflict between playing football and serving his Christian faith. The Vikings released him later that month. Underwood would later change his mind and decided to return to the NFL. He was claimed on waivers by the Miami Dolphins after 23 teams passed on him, but showed a lack of focus towards football. Multiple times during team meetings, Underwood was found not taking notes, but instead writing scripture about the apocalypse. He only played one preseason game for the Dolphins before getting injured.

In September 1999, Underwood attempted to commit suicide by slashing his own neck before repeatedly yelling "I'm not worthy of God". According to his mother, an ordained minister, his behavior had been influenced by attending the Immanuel's Temple Community Church in Lansing, Michigan; which she describes as a "cult that's posing as a church." The church's pastor stated that neither he nor his wife had ever counseled Underwood and that no one in the church told Underwood to leave football.

Underwood later spent two months in protective care and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After he escaped from a psychiatric care facility, he was released from the Dolphins in December 1999. He later signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys. During the 2000-2001 seasons, Underwood had 21 tackles and four sacks in 19 games. In January 2001, he tried to kill himself for the second time by running into traffic twice on a busy suburban highway. The Cowboys released him later that month.

After four years out of football, Underwood resurfaced in the CFL with the Ottawa Renegades. However, he was cut during the preseason.

In 2007, Yahoo! Sports listed Underwood as one of the worst first-round picks since the AFL-NFL merger.


-Charles Robinson (2007-04-25). "Worst all-time first-round picks". Yahoo! Sports.  



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