Ted Hendricks: Wikis

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Ted Hendricks
Ted Hendricks 2-4-05 050204-N-0874H-006.jpg
Hendricks in February 2005
Position(s)
Linebacker
Jersey #(s)
83
Born November 1, 1947 (1947-11-01) (age 62)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Career information
Year(s) 19691983
NFL Draft 1969 / Round: 2 / Pick: 33
College University of Miami
Professional teams
Career stats
Sacks 60.5
Interceptions 26
Safeties 4
Stats at NFL.com
Career highlights and awards

Theodore (Ted) Paul Hendricks (born November 1, 1947 Guatemala City, Guatemala) is a former hall of fame American football linebacker who logged 15 seasons for the 1969 to 1973 Baltimore Colts, 1974 Green Bay Packers and the 1975 to 1983 Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders in the National Football League. In 2007 he was named to the Florida High School Association All-Century Team which selected the Top 33 players in the 100 year history of high school football in the state of Florida's history.

Contents

University of Miami

Hendricks played his college football at the University of Miami. He played stand-up defensive end for the University of Miami during the 1966 through 1968 seasons. The 6’7”, 220 pound Hendricks was one of the greatest defensive players in the history of college football. He was a two-time All-American (1967 and 1968) and finished fifth in the 1968 Heisman Trophy voting. He was also a Second-team All-America selection in 1966.He also joined Kappa Sigma men's fraternity.

Born in Guatemala, where his father was employed at the time, Hendricks was a physics major at UM and was well-known for relaxing by doing math problems.

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Collegiate records and accolades

While playing for UM, Hendricks made 327 total tackles (the most ever by a UM defensive lineman). He also led UM with the most solo tackles by a defensive lineman with 139. Hendricks also recovered 12 fumbles during his UM playing career. He recorded a career-high of 4 quarterback sacks against the University of Florida in 1968. In his junior year of 1967 he caused nine turnovers, by fumble recovery, stolen ball, pass interception or blocked kick.

It was at UM that the tall, thin Hendricks gained the nickname “The Mad Stork.” It was a nickname that would follow him through his professional football career. Hendricks' UM jersey was retired in 1997. He also was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in honor of his college football career.

NFL career

Baltimore Colts

Hendricks began his 15-season pro football career as the second-round pick of the Baltimore Colts in the 1969 AFL-NFL Draft. He was initially listed as a defensive end, which is why he had the unusual number (for a linebacker) of 83. After coach Don Shula converted him to linebacker, he entered the starting lineup halfway through his rookie 1969 season. He made 32 tackles and 2 sacks on the quarterback and knocked down 2 passes and blocked a field goal (the first of 25 blocked kicks in his career).

He played a key role in the Colts' 1970 Super Bowl V-winning season. He was the starting strong-side linebacker and recorded 67 tackles and 1-1/2 sacks while intercepting a pass. He recorded 2 blocked kicks and knocked down 5 passes. He and fellow linebackers Mike Curtis and Ray May anchored a unit that was one of the NFL's best in defending against the run; which was 102.8 yards per game -6th in the NFL, and allowing only 2 rushing touchdowns all season (tied with the Los Angeles Rams for first in the NFL). They allowed only 234 points which was good for 7th in the NFL.

He was chosen to the first of four All-Pro selections in 1971. He had 63 tackles and picked off 5 passes while batting away 7 passes. He also recorded 5 sacks and blocked 2 more kicks. The Colts defense was ranked first in the NFL in most defensive categories. They were #1 in the NFL in fewest rushing yards allowed and lowest rushing attempt, there were also #1 in fewest total yards allowed and were 2nd in fewest points allowed, behind the Vikings Purple People Eater defense. The Colts were #5 in allowing the fewest rushing touchdowns and #2 in allowing the fewest passing touchdowns. On the strength of the stout defense the Colts made the playoffs but did not advance to the Super Bowl, losing to the Miami Dolphins in the playoffs.

In 1972 "the Stork" as he was known recorded 99 tackles, 6 sacks, knocked down 7 passes, intercepted two passes and blocked 2 field goals. The following season Hendricks made 86 tackes and 4 sacks (bringing his Colt total to 18-1/2) and picked off 3 passes (making his Colt total 11) for 33 yards while batting away 7 passes for the third consecutive season and blocked a punt (the 8th blocked kick in his young career). He was second-team All-Pro in both 1972 and 1973. Surprisingly, after five seasons with the Colts, he was traded to the Green Bay Packers.

Green Bay Packers

After Hendricks was traded to the Packers, he signed a 'future contract' with the nascent World Football League. Hendricks was then in the option year of his NFL contract, and had one of his greatest seasons: five interceptions, seven blocked kicks (3 field goals, 3 punts and 1 extra point) and a safety, two sacks, 75 tackles, and two knocked down passes while again earning consensus All-Pro honors for the second time. With Hendricks the Packer defense improved from #13 in the NFL in stopping the run to #8 in fewest rushing yards allowed. Also, the Packer defense went from the NFL's 10th best in 1973 to #6 in fewest total yards allowed trailing teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Los Angeles Rams, the Washington Redskins, and the Dallas Cowboys, while also being in the NFL top 5 in fewest points allowed with 206. They trailed only the Rams, Steelers, Vikings, and Redskins in that category. In 1973 they were 14th in the NFL in scoring defense. It seems easy to argue that Hendricks had a positive effect on the Packer defense, which had its best season since the glory days of Ray Nitschke, Willie Davis, Henry Jordan, and Dave Robinson.

With the World Football League bankrupt, owner Al Davis of the Raiders sent two first round draft choices to the Packers for the rights to Hendricks, signing him as a limited free agent.

Oakland / Los Angeles Raiders

After the trade, Hendricks went on to play nine seasons with the Raiders before retiring after the 1983 season. In his first year on the Raider team, coach John Madden used him sparingly, partly as a result of a feud he had with Al Davis. However, Madden eventually had him starting by the end of the 1975 season. Statistically, it was the worst of Ted's career. He recorded only 27 tackles and 3 passes batted and 2 interceptions. He was used in the Raiders nickel defense and recorded 5 sacks in that role. He also recorded 4 sacks in a playoff win against the Cincinnati Bengals. Injuries limited the number of defensive lineman Madden had available so he used Hendricks as a stand-up defensive end, the position Hendricks played in college. At season's end the Raiders defense was among the NFL's top units, despite injuries to a few key defensive linemen. The Raiders led the NFL in interceptions and they ranked 2nd in the NFL in sacks, 7th in fewest points allowed, and were 3rd in total defense (which is fewest yards allowed).

The next year, 1976, Hendricks became a full time player with the Raiders, and the Raiders switched to a 3-4 defense early in the season. Hendricks played the weakside linebacker, since All-Pro Phil Villapiano played Hendricks' strong-side; he made 57 tackles, 6 sacks, knocked down 5 passes while picking off one and blocked 2 punts. The Raiders defense was 6th in the NFL in sacks but did not finish in the top ten in points allowed or total defense. The Raiders won Super Bowl XI, the first in franchise history, and the first of three Super Bowl titles in seven seasons. Hendricks was second-team All-Pro that year.

In 1977 Hendricks moved back to the strong-side linebacker position due to a Villapiano injury and made 56 tackles, 2 sacks and knocked down 4 passes. The Raider defense was 7th in the NFL against the run and tied for 3rd in allowing the fewest rushing touchdowns. They also tied for third in the NFL with 26 interceptions. Ted was second-team All-Pro in 1977.

In the 1978 season Hendricks recorded a stellar season with 78 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 interceptions, 8 passes defensed and 2 fumble recoveries. The defense tied for 4th in most interceptions in the NFL and scored 4 defensive touchdowns which tied them for 2nd most in the NFL. They were tied for 10th in fewest points allowed as well. Again, for the third consecutive season, Ted was second-team All-Pro in 1978.

By the end of the 1979 season, it appeared that "Kick 'em in the Head Ted's" (his Raider nickname) career was over even though he made 61 tackles with 3 sacks and picked off a pass, returning it 23 yards for a touchdown and deflected 13 passes. The Raider defense picked off the 8th most interceptions in the NFL and scored 4 defensive touchdowns, leading the NFL in 1979. However, in most major categories the Raiders did not crack the top 5. It seemed the defense was slowing down.

A vote among Raider coaches showed that all of them had voted to release Hendricks at season's end. However, owner Al Davis insisted on keeping Hendricks, and it turns out he was right. Hendricks responded with perhaps his best-ever season. He made 76 tackles with a career high 8-1/2 sacks, 3 interceptions (bringing his career total to 26) while batting 16 passes and blocking 3 kicks. The defense rebounded to #5 against the run in the NFL, #1 in intercepting passes, and were 3rd in sacking opponents quarterbacks, and 11th in the NFL in total defense and 10th in fewest points allowed. It was likely the best defense since 1975 based on the statistics. In 1980 he was a consensus first-team All-Pro for the first time since 1974 and he helped the Raiders to their win in Super Bowl XV while going to another Pro Bowl.

In 1981 the Raiders team offense slumped. The defense and Hendricks played very well. He had 71 tackles with 2-1/2 sacks and deflected 12 passes. The defense was 6th in the NFL against the run and racked up 52 sacks which was good for 2nd in the NFL. Rookie lineman Howie Long contributed to the resurgent pass rush along with Hendricks.

Hendricks was All-Pro and All-AFC in the strike-shortened 1982 season as Hendricks made 28 tackles and seven sacks in just nine games while he deflected 2 passes. The Raiders were 8-1 but were stunned in a playoff loss to the New York Jets. The Raider defense was as good as there was in the NFL for the 1982 season. They were 2nd in fewest rushing yards allowed and 2nd in sacking the opposing quarterback.

In his final campaign, 1983, Hendricks played less than at any point since 1975 but still managed to make his eighth Pro Bowl and was second team All-AFC while recording 41 tackles, two sacks and deflecting four passes. He also blocked the 25th kick of his career and was a part of the Raider's Super Bowl XVIII victory. The defense was again stellar as they were 4th in the NFL against the run, again tied for 2nd in sacking the quarterback, and fifth in total defense and 13th in allowing the fewest points allowed while being eighth in allowing the fewest touchdowns from scrimmage.

Hendricks was likely at his best over nine seasons with the Raiders. The Raiders gave him the freedom to roam the line, blitz on impulse, read the play and react. Opposing players had great difficulty keying on him. He could disrupt the other team's offense like few others. His 6'7" frame and long arms made him hard to pass against; it also helped his tackling and reaching the quarterback quicker on blitzes. He sacked opposing passers 42 times while in a Raider uniform and set a Raiders record of nine sacks in postseason games. During Hendricks' time (1975-83) with the Raiders, he led a great pass rush along with Howie Long, John Matuszak, Pat Toomay, Lyle Alzado, Reggie Kinlaw and Otis Sistrunk as the team logged 394 team sacks, second only to the Dallas Cowboys, which had 413 during that span.

NFL accomplishments

Hendricks' height was a major passing-lane obstacle for quarterbacks and his long arms pulled down errant passes (26 career interceptions as a pro) with amazing grace and also made him the most feared kick-blocker of his era - 25 blocked punts, field goals or PATs, the unofficial NFL record. Hendricks also recovered 16 opponent's fumbles and registered four safeties. He scored touchdowns on an interception, a fumble return, and a blocked punt. Also, although sacks were unofficial until Hendricks' last two seasons, he unofficially recorded 60-1/2 career sacks with a career-high of 8-1/2 in 1980. His pass coverage was represented by the 26 interceptions and over 95 passes defelcted in his 15 seasons.

Hendricks was a member of four Super Bowl-winning teams (three with the Raiders and one with the Colts) and was a Pro Bowl selection eight times, at least once with each of his three NFL teams. He is the first player in NFL history to have four Super Bowl rings and never play for the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, the three teams with at least five Super Bowl titles.

The seemingly indestructible Hendricks played in 215 straight regular-season games. He also participated in eight Pro Bowl games, seven AFC championships and four Super Bowls (V with the Colts, XI, XV and XVIII with the Raiders). Hendricks was named All-Pro as a Colt in 1971, as a Packer in 1974, and twice as a Raider in 1980 and 1982. He also earned second-team All-Pro honors five other times (1972, '73, '76, '77, '78). He also earned All-conference honors in 1971, '72, '74, '76, '80, '81 and '82, while being named 2nd-team All-AFC in 1973, '78 and '83.

Hendricks was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990, his second year of eligibility. In 1999, he was ranked number 64 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

He currently works on behalf of ex-players as part of the Hall of Fame Player's Association. He also was named as one of the members of the NFL's all time 75th anniversary team in 1994.

He won the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award in 2008.

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