Howard in Austin, Texas in 2008
|No. 21, 80, 81, 82, 18|
|Position:|| Wide receiver |
|Born:||May 15, 1970|
|Height:||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight:||188 lb (85 kg)|
|High school:||Cleveland (OH) St. Joseph|
|NFL Draft:||1992 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Desmond Kevin Howard (born May 15, 1970) is a former National Football League (NFL) player. Howard was known mostly as a return specialist but also played wide receiver. He is currently a college football analyst for ESPN.
The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.
A return specialist or kick returner is a player on the special teams unit of an American football or Canadian football team who specializes in returning punts and kickoffs. There are few players who are exclusively return specialists; most also play another position such as wide receiver, defensive back, or running back. The special teams counterpart of a return specialist is a kicking specialist.
A wide receiver, also referred to as wideouts or simply receivers, is an offensive position in American and Canadian football, and is a key player. They get their name because they are split out "wide", farthest away from the rest of the team. Wide receivers are among the fastest players on the field. The wide receiver functions as the pass-catching specialist.
He played football for the University of Michigan from 1989 to 1991 and won the Heisman Trophy in 1991. He played professional football in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins (1992–1994), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995), Green Bay Packers (1996, 1999), Oakland Raiders (1997–1998) and Detroit Lions (1999–2002). Howard was voted the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXI and is the first and currently the only special teams player to win the award. His team beat the New England Patriots in that game. Howard was ranked the ninth greatest return specialist in NFL history by NFL Network's NFL Top 10 return aces. On July 16, 2011, Howard was inducted into the 2011 class of the College Football Hall of Fame.
The University of Michigan, often simply referred to as Michigan, is a public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The university is Michigan's oldest; it was founded in 1817 in Detroit, as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the territory became a state. The school was moved to Ann Arbor in 1837 onto 40 acres (16 ha) of what is now known as Central Campus. Since its establishment in Ann Arbor, the university campus has expanded to include more than 584 major buildings with a combined area of more than 34 million gross square feet spread out over a Central Campus and North Campus, two regional campuses in Flint and Dearborn, and a Center in Detroit. The university is a founding member of the Association of American Universities.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy, is awarded annually to a player in NCAA football. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. It is presented by the Heisman Trophy Trust in early December before the postseason bowl games.
The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington metropolitan area. The Redskins compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team plays its home games at FedExField in Landover, Maryland; its headquarters and training facility are at Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia and the Redskins Complex in Richmond, Virginia, respectively.
Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio and earned All-American and All-Ohio honors as a tailback during his senior season at St. Joseph High School in Cleveland, Ohio, scoring 18 touchdowns with a record-breaking 5,392 rushing yards, as well as 10 interceptions on defense. He earned three varsity letters each in track and football, as well as one in basketball.
Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School is a private Roman Catholic college-preparatory high school located in Cleveland, Ohio. The school's name is commonly abbreviated VASJ. It was formed by the 1990 merger of Villa Angela Academy and St. Joseph High School. It is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. The school's core values are grounded in those of the religious orders which had administered the two predecessor schools: the Society of Mary (Marianists) and the Ursulines.
High school football is gridiron football played by high school teams in the United States and Canada. It ranks among the most popular interscholastic sports in both countries. It is also popular amongst American High school teams in Europe.
During his college career at the University of Michigan, Howard set or tied five NCAA and 12 Michigan records. He also led the Big Ten Conference in scoring with 138 points during the 1991 season on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Award, earning first-team All-American honors. Howard captured 85 percent of the first-place votes in balloting for the Heisman, the largest margin in history at that time. Howard also earned a bachelor's degree in communications in 1992. In 2011, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fameand he was honored as the inaugural Michigan Football Legend, a program honoring former players equivalent to a retired jersey number. Each Michigan player to wear Howard's No. 21 jersey was to wear a patch recognizing Howard, and dress at a locker bearing a plaque with his name and time of tenure at Michigan.
The Big Ten Conference is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States, based in suburban Chicago, Illinois. Despite its name, the conference consists of 14 members. They compete in the NCAA Division I; its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A, the highest level of NCAA competition in that sport. The conference includes the flagship public university in each of 11 states stretching from New Jersey to Nebraska, as well as two additional public land grant schools and a private university.
The Maxwell Award is presented annually to the college football player judged by a panel of sportscasters, sportswriters, and National Collegiate Athletic Association head coaches and the membership of the Maxwell Football Club to be the best all-around in the United States. The award is named after Robert "Tiny" Maxwell, a Swarthmore College football player, coach and sportswriter. Johnny Lattner and Tim Tebow are the only players to have won the award twice. It is the college equivalent of the Bert Bell Award of the National Football League, also given out by the Maxwell Club.
The Walter Camp Player of the Year Award is given annually to the collegiate American football player of the year, as decided by a group of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I FBS head coaches and sports information directors under the auspices of the Walter Camp Football Foundation; the award is named for Walter Camp, an important and influential figure in the development of the sport. Three players have won the award twice: Colt McCoy of the University of Texas in 2008 and 2009, Archie Griffin of Ohio State in 1974 and 1975, and O. J. Simpson of USC in 1967 and 1968.
Howard had come to Michigan as a tailback and initially struggled for playing time. He met with Michigan counselor Greg Harden, who helped him to build his confidence and achieve success on and off the field.Howard told 60 Minutes in 2014: "If Greg Harden wasn’t at the University of Michigan…I don’t win the Heisman."
Greg Harden is a life coach, motivational speaker and executive consultant who is best known for his work with 6-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady. He also worked with Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard, and 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Brady, Howard and other athletes credit Harden with inspiring them to overcome obstacles and achieve success in their professional and personal lives. Harden has created a personal improvement program that is unique in sports. In 2014, he was profiled in a segment on 60 Minutes.
On December 12, 2014, the Big Ten Network included Howard on "The Mount Rushmore of Michigan Football", as chosen by online fan voting. Howard was joined in the honor by Charles Woodson, Tom Harmon, and Anthony Carter.
The Big Ten Network (BTN) is an American sports network based in Chicago, Illinois. The channel is dedicated to coverage of collegiate sports sanctioned by the Big Ten Conference, including live and recorded event telecasts, news, analysis programs, and other content focusing on the conference's member schools. It is a joint venture between Fox Sports and the Big Ten, with Fox Corporation as 51% stakeholder and operating partner, and the Big Ten Conference owning a 49% stake. It is headquartered in the former Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalog House building at 600 West Chicago Avenue in Chicago.
Charles Cameron Woodson is a former American football player. He played college football for Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to a share of the national championship in 1997. Woodson, a "two-way player" who played both offense and defense, won the Heisman Trophy in the same year. To date, he is the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman, and he is the most recent player to win the Heisman who was not either a running back or quarterback. Woodson went on to accomplish a storied career professionally with one of the most decorated professional football resumes of all time, considered by many of his peers to be one of the greatest defensive players to have ever played.
Thomas Dudley Harmon, sometimes known by the nickname "Old 98", was an American football player, military pilot, actor, and sports broadcaster.
On November 28, 2015, Howard had his #21 officially retired along with Gerald Ford (48), Tom Harmon (98), Ron Kramer (87), Bennie Osterbaan (47) and Albert, Alvin and Whitey Wistert (11) at a ceremony before the Michigan game against Ohio State.Howard commented afterward, "Any time you have your name mentioned along with Gerald Ford, you've done something right."
During the 1991 season, after he became a Heisman contender, Howard decided that he would do "something special" during the Michigan-Ohio State game "as a little shout-out to the people back in Ohio". After scoring in the game, in the end zone he wanted to do a backflip but, Howard later said, "chickened out"; instead he imitated the pose of the football player on the Heisman trophy, immediately receiving much media attention. Comparing his act to Muhammad Ali's taunting of opponents, Steve Rushin observed that although Howard's pose did not closely resemble that of the statue, "that looks more like the Heisman Trophy of our imagination than the Heisman trophy itself ... thousands of people must have instantly picked up some object and tried to do the same thing". Howard later said that "all of a sudden, everyone was doing it"; many have imitated the act, including fellow athletes, celebrities, and Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
After college, Howard was selected by the Washington Redskins in the first round, fourth overall in the 1992 NFL Draft. The pick was considered a luxury for the Redskins, who had just won Super Bowl XXVI and had receivers Art Monk, Gary Clark, and Ricky Sanders on the roster. The Redskins, worried that the Green Bay Packers were going to draft Howard in the fifth spot, leapfrogged above them by dealing their two first-round picks - 6th and 28th - and their third-round choice (84th) to the Cincinnati Bengals for their first-round pick (4th) and their third-round pick (58th).Howard was the highest Redskins draft pick since they took Hall of Fame receiver Charley Taylor with the third pick in 1964. Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs remarked of Howard "This guy doesn't have any flaws. We're excited."
Howard's performance as a receiver was secondary to his skills as a punt and kick off returner throughout his 11-year career. Though he recorded 92 receptions in his first four seasons, he excelled as a punt and kickoff returner throughout his career. Thus is known as a specialist.
Howard played one season with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995, having been selected in the 1995 NFL expansion draft with the 55th pick. He had 26 receptions and one touchdown, with 10 kick returns.
His most notable professional season was in 1996 for the Green Bay Packers. He led the NFL in punt returns (58), punt return yards (875), punt return average (15.1), and punt return touchdowns (3), while gaining 460 kickoff return yards and catching 13 passes for 95 yards. His 875 punt return yards were an NFL record, easily surpassing the old record of 692 yards set by Fulton Walker in 1985. During the 1996 NFL postseason, Howard had a punt return for a touchdown in a game between the Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers reached Super Bowl XXXI against the New England Patriots.
The Packers led 27–14 at halftime, but Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe led his team on a short drive that ended with Curtis Martin's 18-yard touchdown run to pull the Patriots within six late in the third quarter. With new life, the Patriots boomed the ensuing kickoff to the one-yard line, but Howard effectively shattered the Patriots' hopes for a comeback with a 99-yard kickoff return for a Packers touchdown. His return and the Packers' subsequent two-point conversion closed out the scoring of the game, and the Packers eventually won 35-21. Bill Parcells, the Patriots' head coach, commented after the game: "We had a lot of momentum, and our defense was playing better. But [Howard] made the big play. That return was the game right there. He's been great all year, and he was great again today." Howard totaled a Super Bowl record 90 punt return yards and 154 kickoff return yards with one touchdown; his 244 all-purpose yards also tied a Super Bowl record. His performance won him the Super Bowl MVP award, making Howard the only player to ever win the award based solely on a special teams performance.
Howard became a free agent after the season and signed with the Oakland Raiders. He led the NFL in kickoff returns (61) and kickoff return yards (1,381). Howard spent the 1998 football season with the Raiders before re-joining the Packers in 1999.
In the middle of the 1999 season, Howard was cut by the Packers after subpar performance and multiple injuries.He was signed by the Detroit Lions four days later, where he spent the rest of his career until his retirement after the 2002 season. In a special homecoming, he scored a special teams touchdown in his Lions debut. In February 2001, he made his first and only Pro Bowl appearance as the NFC's kick returner.
In his 11 NFL seasons, Howard caught 123 passes for 1,597 yards, rushed for 68 yards, returned 244 punts for 2,895 yards, and gained 7,595 yards returning 359 kickoffs. He also scored 16 touchdowns (7 receiving, 8 punt returns, 1 kickoff return). Overall, Howard gained 12,155 all-purpose yards in his professional career.
|Year||Team||G||PR||PR yds||PR TD||FC||Long PR||KR||KR yds||KR TD||Long KR|
Howard currently works for ESPN as a college football analyst. He appears as an in-studio personality and, in 2005, began traveling with Rece Davis, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit to marquee matchup sites during the season for the pre-game show ESPN College Gameday .
He is also currently the color commentator for Detroit Lions pre-season games on the Detroit Lions Television Network. He called games for the NFL on Fox for one season with ESPN colleague Carter Blackburn.
On May 6, 2005, EA Sports announced that Howard would be the cover athlete for its latest installment in the NCAA Football video game series, NCAA Football 06 . The announcement was a departure for the series, which has traditionally featured college athletes who went to the NFL the previous year on its covers. He was chosen to highlight the new feature "Race for the Heisman," and his cover picture showed him striking his famous Heisman pose while at the University of Michigan.
Super Bowl XXXI was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Green Bay Packers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1996 season. The Packers defeated the Patriots by the score of 35–21, earning their third overall Super Bowl victory, and their first since Super Bowl II. The Packers also extended their league record for the most overall NFL championships to 12. It was also the last in a run of 13 straight Super Bowl victories by the NFC over the AFC. The game was played on January 26, 1997 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Troy Fitzgerald Brown is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the eighth round of the 1993 NFL Draft. He played college football at Marshall. On May 11, 2010, Brown was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. In June 2012, Brown was voted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame by fan vote.
Jim Plunkett is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for sixteen seasons. He achieved his greatest success during his final nine seasons with the Oakland Raiders franchise, whom he helped lead to two Super Bowl victories.
Joseph Michael Bellino is a former American football halfback who won the Heisman Trophy in 1960 playing for the United States Naval Academy and later played in the American Football League (AFL) for the Boston Patriots. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
Michael Lockett Garrett is a former American football player who won the Heisman Trophy in 1965 as a halfback for the USC Trojans. Garrett played professional football for eight seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers. From 1993 until 2010 he was the athletic director at the University of Southern California (USC). Garrett became the athletic director at California State University, Los Angeles in 2015.
Anthony Deion Branch, Jr. is a former American football wide receiver of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft. He played college football at Louisville under coach John L. Smith.
Antonio Michael Freeman is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL), most notably for the Green Bay Packers. He attended the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Virginia Tech.
Johnny Steven Rodgers is an American former gridiron football player. He played college football at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1972. Rodgers played professionally in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the Montreal Alouettes and in the National Football League (NFL) with the San Diego Chargers. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Anthony Carter is a former American football wide receiver. He finished his college career as the University of Michigan's all-time leading receiver, and played professionally for thirteen years in the United States Football League and the National Football League. He is also known as 'AC'.
Derrick Scott Alexander is a former American football wide receiver of the National Football League. He was drafted in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and in 2000 set the Kansas City Chiefs record of 1,391 receiving yards in a single season. He is currently employed as an assistant coach in charge of wide receivers at Avila University.
Kenneth Earl Davis is a former professional American football running back who played for the NFL's Green Bay Packers from 1986–1988 and the Buffalo Bills from 1989–1994.
Ricky Wayne Sanders is a former American football wide receiver who played professionally for twelve seasons from 1983 to 1994, two with the United States Football League's Houston Gamblers and ten in the National Football League. He played running back, safety, and place kicker as a three-year letterman for Belton High School in Belton, Texas and broke five records.
Joe Dan Washington, Jr is a former American football running back in the National Football League (NFL) for the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Colts, Washington Redskins, and Atlanta Falcons.
Leon Dewitt Washington Sr. is a former American football running back and return specialist. He currently serves as a coach for the Detroit Lions. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played college football at Florida State. Washington also played for the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.
Mario Cashmere Manningham is a former American football wide receiver. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft. After receiving few opportunities in his rookie year, Manningham caught 18 touchdown passes the following three seasons, as well as three postseason touchdowns during the Giants' 2011-12 playoff run. Manningham won Super Bowl XLVI with the Giants against the New England Patriots, in which he caught a crucial 38-yard pass with under four minutes remaining to set up the Giants' game-winning drive, a famous play in Super Bowl lore.
The 1996Green Bay Packers season was their 78th season overall and their 76th in the National Football League, which culminated with the franchise winning its third Super Bowl and league-record 12th NFL Championship. The Packers posted a league-best 13–3 regular season won-loss record, going 8–0 at home and 5–3 on the road. It was the first time since 1962 that the club went undefeated at home. Additionally, the Packers had the NFL's highest-scoring offense (456) and allowed the fewest points on defense (210). Green Bay was the first team to accomplish both feats in the same season since the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. They finished the season with the number one ranked offense, defense, and special teams. They also set a then NFL record for the fewest touchdowns allowed in a 16-game season, with 19. The Packers also allowed the fewest yards in the NFL and set a record for punt return yardage. Brett Favre won his second straight MVP award while also throwing for a career-high and league leading 39 touchdown passes.
Charles John Priefer is an American former football coach who held a variety of defensive and special teams coaching positions at the college and professional levels of the sport, including 17 seasons in the National Football League (NFL).
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