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Elvin Bethea
Defensive end
Jersey #(s)
Born March 1, 1946 (1946-03-01) (age 63)
Trenton, New Jersey
Career information
Year(s) 19681983
AFL Draft 1968 / Round: 3 / Pick: 77
College North Carolina A&T
Professional teams
Career stats
Sacks 105
Tackles 691 (1974-1983)
Touchdowns 1
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Elvin Lamont Bethea (born March 1, 1946 in Trenton, New Jersey) is a former American football defensive end who played his entire career with the Houston Oilers. He played for North Carolina A&T State University and was the first person from that school to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bethea played high school football at Trenton Central High School.[1]

During his career in Houston, Bethea played in 210 games, including a stretch of 135 consecutive. He played at defensive end and guard in the 1968 season and didn’t miss a game until breaking his arm in a game against the Oakland Raiders in 1977. He led the team in sacks six times, finishing his career with 105 unofficial sacks.[2]

His career high was in 1973 with 16 sacks, which still ranks as the best in Oilers/Tennessee Titans history.[3] In 1976 Bethea recorded 14½ sacks, yet was not voted to the Pro Bowl. In a game against the San Diego Chargers in 1976, he recorded four sacks (his career high) and had one fumble recovery.

He also had 14½ sacks in 1969. Other notable seasons in terms of sacks were: 1970 and 1971 with 10½ sacks in each, 1975 with 10 and 1978 with 8. He played in the AFC Championship game in 1978 and 1979.

In 1975 Bethea was named All-pro by "College and Pro Football Newsweeky", the only time Bethea was a First-team All-Pro in his 16-year career. He was Second-team All-Pro in 1969, 1973, 1978 and 1979 to go with his 8 Pro Bowl selections.

He is also the author of "Smash-Mouth: My Football Journey from Trenton to Canton". In 2005 Bethea was inducted to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame [4]

See also


External links

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