Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Birthday Ted Hendricks

Ted Hendricks shown chasing University of Florida QB Steve Spurrier in 1966

Happy 60th birthday to former University of Miami defensive end and NFL linebacker Ted Hendricks. Standing 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, Hendricks was a lean and mean player known as "The Mad Stork" and is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. He's the only 3-time All American in UM history and played 15 seasons in the NFL with the Colts, Packers and Raiders.

Born Theodore Paul Hendricks in Guatemala where his father was employed, he moved to South Florida as a young boy and grew up in Hialeah. He starred at Hialeah High School and was twice named All City by the Miami Herald as both an offensive and defensive end. Hendricks was also a gifted student. He graduated with a 4.0 grade point average and won the prestigious Silver Knight Award as Dade County's best student athlete.

Hendricks enrolled at the University of Miami as a freshman in 1965. After playing on the freshman team, he later became the first and only 3-time All American in Canes football history. Hendricks likely would have been a 4-time All American had freshmen been eligible during the 1960s. He made 327 career tackles and recovered 12 fumbles.--the most ever by a University of Miami defensive lineman. Hendricks was so dominant, he actually received Heisman votes as a junior and senior despite playing defensive end.

Despite his great college career, Hendricks slipped to the second round of the 1969 NFL Draft to the Baltimore Colts because scouts feared he was too thin to play defensive end in the NFL. But the Colts, who were then coached by Don Shula, switched Hendricks to outside linebacker where he could use his great speed to play in space and rush the quarterback. By his second season, he helped the Colts win Super Bowl V against the Cowboys at the Orange Bowl.

After an All-Pro career with the Colts, Hendricks was traded to the Packers in 1974 and then joined the Raiders the following year where he finished out his brilliant career. It was as a Raider where Hendricks had his best seasons. Henricks used his height to advantage in blocking kicks and in pass coverage. He intercepted 26 passes in his career and blocked 25 field goals and extra points--an NFL record. He also holds the NFL record with 4 safeties in his career. Hendricks helped the Raiders win three Super Bowls including his final game Super Bowl XVIII against the Redskins in January 1984.

He played in 215 consecutive regular season games, seven AFC championship games and won four Super Bowl rings. He was also selected eight times to the Pro Bowl. In 1990 Hendricks was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Four years later, he was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team. The Sporting News named him as one of the 100 greatest players in NFL history. He currently works on behalf of ex-players as part of the Hall of Fame Player's Association.

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