Desmond Howard

Last updated

Desmond Howard
Desmond Howard.jpg
Howard in Austin, Texas in 2008
No. 21, 80, 81, 82, 18
Position: Wide receiver
Return specialist
Personal information
Born: (1970-05-15) May 15, 1970 (age 48)
Cleveland, Ohio
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:188 lb (85 kg)
Career information
High school: Cleveland (OH) St. Joseph
College: Michigan
NFL Draft: 1992  / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Total return yards:10,855
Receiving yards:1,597
Total touchdowns:17
Player stats at NFL.com
Chris Fowler and Desmond Howard conducting post-game coverage for College GameDay 2009-0912-GameDay-FowlerHoward.jpg
Chris Fowler and Desmond Howard conducting post-game coverage for College GameDay

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.

National Football League Professional American football league

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.

Return specialist player on the special teams unit of an American football or Canadian football team who specializes in returning punts and/or kickoffs

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.

Contents

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. [1] [2]

University of Michigan Public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

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.

Heisman Trophy annual award for outstanding college football player

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.

Washington Redskins American football team based in the Washington, D.C. area

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.

High school career

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

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 secondary school competition in gridiron football

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.

College career

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 Fame [1] and 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. [3]

Big Ten Conference American collegiate athletics conference

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.

Walter Camp Award award

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. [4] Howard told 60 Minutes in 2014: "If Greg Harden wasn’t at the University of Michigan…I don’t win the Heisman." [5]

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.

Big Ten Network

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 Woodson All-American college football player, professional football player, cornerback, Heisman Trophy winner

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.

Tom Harmon American football player, announcer

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. [6] Howard commented afterward, "Any time you have your name mentioned along with Gerald Ford, you've done something right."

The Heisman pose

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. [7]

Professional career

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). [8] Howard was the highest Redskins draft pick since they took Hall of Fame receiver Charley Taylor with the third pick in 1964. [8] Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs remarked of Howard "This guy doesn't have any flaws. We're excited." [9]

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. [10] 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.

Desmond Howard (left) on the set of ESPN's College GameDay in Austin, Texas Desmond Howard Lance Armstrong College Gameday.jpg
Desmond Howard (left) on the set of ESPN's College GameDay in Austin, Texas

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.

NFL statistics

Receiving statistics [11]

SeasonTeamGamesReceivingFumbles
GGSRecYdsAvgLongTD1stFmbFmb lost
1992 WSH 1613206.780100
1993 WSH 1652328612.42701700
1994 WSH 16154072718.28153300
1995 JAX 1362627610.62411500
1996 GB 16013957.3120410
1997 OAK 1504307.590000
1998 OAK 1512168.0100200
2000 DET 1502147.0100000
2001 DET 1411013313.3361500
Career136271231,59713.08177710

Returning statistics [11]

YearTeamGPRPR ydsPR TDFCLong PRKRKR ydsKR TDLong KR
1992 WSH 16684135522462042
1993 WSH 16425001321405033
1995 JAX 1324246084010178024
1996 GB 16588753169222460040
1997 OAK 152721002031611,318045
1998 OAK 154554121375491,040042
1999 GB 81293072019364031
1999 DET 56115136815298135
2000 DET 153145712495571,401070
2001 DET 142220101934571,446091
2002 DET 7948051426587070
Career1402442,8958118953597,959191

Broadcasting career

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.

NCAA Football 06

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.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/6776215/desmond-howard-formerly-michigan-wolverines-inducted-college-football-hall-fame
  2. Detroit Free Press, "Howard savors big moment", Page 3C, July 17, 2011
  3. http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/091011aad.html
  4. "Tom Brady's Guru", by Eric Adelson, January 11, 2011.
  5. "60 Minutes Sports" (Interview). YouTube.
  6. http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football-news/4651043-michigan-retires-legends-jerseys-desmond-howard-tom-harmon-gerald-ford
  7. 2016 Heisman Trophy Presentation (Television). ESPN. December 10, 2016.
  8. 1 2 http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1992-04-27/sports/1992118003_1_redskins-terrell-buckley-desmond-howard
  9. https://www.nytimes.com/1992/04/27/sports/football-extra-extra-redskins-get-howard-dickerson-dealt.html
  10. http://articles.latimes.com/1999/dec/05/sports/sp-40867
  11. 1 2 "Desmond Howard Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved April 23, 2014.