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Lem Barney
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Jersey #(s)
Born September 8, 1945 (1945-09-08) (age 64)
Gulfport, Mississippi
Career information
Year(s) 19671977
NFL Draft 1967 / Round: 2 / Pick: 34
College Jackson State
Professional teams
Career stats
Interceptions 56
INT yards 1,077
Touchdowns 7
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Lemuel Joseph "Lem" Barney (born September 8, 1945 in Gulfport, Mississippi) is a former American Football cornerback who played for the Detroit Lions. He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

College Years

Barney attended Jackson State University where he was a three-time All-Southwestern Conference star with 26 career interceptions. Barney is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Pro career

Barney was a second round draft choice in 1967. He was named 1967's defensive rookie of the year, and went on to be selected to seven Pro Bowls. During his time in the NFL, Barney had 56 career interceptions, and also gained over 1000 yards each returning kickoffs and punts. In Barney's first pro start for the Detroit Lions against The Green Bay Packers he intercepted the first pass in his direction from Bart Starr and ran for a touchdown. Lem Barney and the rest of the Lions defense were coached by six-time Pro Bowl defensive back Jim David. Lem credits Jim David as a mentor and teacher of the highest order. Jim David made the induction speech at the Pro Football Hall Of Fame induction ceremony for Lem. They remained great friends until David's death.

In 1999, he was ranked number 97 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

His number, 20, which was also worn by future Detroit star running backs Billy Sims and Barry Sanders, was retired by the Lions.

Both Barney and Lions teammate Mel Farr befriended Motown star Marvin Gaye, when Gaye unsuccessfully tried out for the Lions in 1970. Barney and Farr sing background vocals on Gaye's classic 1971 song "What's Going On", for which Lem earned a Gold Record. Lem Barney also had a role in the film The Black Six and appeared as himself in Paper Lion. He is now a minister. Lem Barney performed the matrimonial services for Jim David's grandson, Sean Thornton and Laura Butler in 2009 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial in Grosse Point, Michigan.

His real name is actually Lemuel Jackson Barney

External links

Preceded by
'First Award'
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Claude Humphrey

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