Jerry Sherk

Last updated
Jerry Sherk
JerrySherk.jpg
Jerry Sherk during a Cleveland Browns game circa 1972
No. 72
Position: Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born: (1948-07-07) July 7, 1948 (age 70)
Grants Pass, Oregon
Career information
College: Oklahoma State
NFL Draft: 1970  / Round: 2 / Pick: 47
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:147
Fumbles recovered:12
Player stats at NFL.com

Jerry Martin Sherk (born July 7, 1948) is a former American football defensive tackle who played for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) for 12 seasons between 1970 until 1981. He made the Pro Bowl lineup for four straight years from 1973 through 1976, [1] and is widely considered to be among the best defensive players in Cleveland Browns history. [2] [3] [4]

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Defensive tackle position in American football

A defensive tackle (DT) is typically the largest and strongest of the defensive players in American football. The defensive tackle typically lines up opposite one of the offensive guards. Depending on a team's individual defensive scheme, a defensive tackle may be called upon to fill several different roles. These roles may include merely holding the point of attack by refusing to be moved or penetrating a certain gap between offensive linemen to break up a play in the opponent's backfield. If a defensive tackle reads a pass play, his primary responsibility is to pursue the quarterback, or simply knock the pass down at the line if it's within arm's reach. Other responsibilities of the defensive tackle may be to pursue the screen pass or drop into coverage in a zone blitz scheme. In a traditional 4–3 defense, there is no nose tackle. Instead there is a left and right defensive tackle. Some teams, especially in the National Football League (NFL), do have a nose tackle in this scheme, but most of them do not.

Cleveland Browns National Football League franchise in Cleveland, Ohio

The Cleveland Browns are a professional American football team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the American Football Conference (AFC) North division. The Browns play their home games at FirstEnergy Stadium, which opened in 1999, with administrative offices and training facilities in Berea, Ohio. The Browns' official colors are brown, orange, and white. They are unique among the 32 member franchises of the NFL in that they do not have a logo on their helmets.

Contents

College career

Jerry Sherk was born in Grants Pass, Oregon. [5] He attended Grants Pass High, where he joined the school's wrestling and football teams. [6]

Grants Pass, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

Grants Pass is a city in, and the county seat of, Josephine County, Oregon, United States. The city is located on Interstate 5, northwest of Medford. Attractions include the Rogue River, famous for its rafting, and the nearby Oregon Caves National Monument located 30 miles south of the city. Grants Pass is 256 mi (412 km) south of Portland, the largest city in Oregon. The population was 34,533 at the 2010 census.

Grants Pass High School is a public high school located in Grants Pass, Oregon, United States. The school colors are blue and white, and the mascot is the Caveman. The mascot is a reference to the Oregon Caves National Monument, which is an important tourist attraction in nearby Cave Junction, Oregon.

Wrestling form of combat sport involving grappling type techniques

Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling-type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. The sport can either be theatrical for entertainment, or genuinely competitive. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position. There are a wide range of styles with varying rules with both traditional historic and modern styles. Wrestling techniques have been incorporated into other martial arts as well as military hand-to-hand combat systems.

Sherk attended Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen, Washington and Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. During high school, he played on both the football and wrestling teams in both his junior and senior years. He was an All-Big Eight selection on the gridiron in 1969 and an All-American as a Cowboy grappler in 1969. He was inducted to the Oklahoma State Hall of Honor in 2000. He was the key to the Grays Harbor wrestling teams winning wrestling state titles two years in a row. Individually, he also won back-to-back state titles and in 1968, he pinned every opponent he faced.

Grays Harbor College

Grays Harbor College is a community college in Aberdeen, Washington, United States. Founded in 1930, the college sits on a 120-acre (0.49 km2) campus overlooking the town of Aberdeen and its seaport on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Additional "learning centers" are located in Raymond, Ilwaco, North Aberdeen and Southside Aberdeen.

Collegiate wrestling

Collegiate wrestling is practiced at the college and university level in the United States. This style, with some slight modifications, is also practiced at the high school and middle school levels, and also among younger participants, where it is known as scholastic wrestling. These names help distinguish collegiate wrestling from other styles of wrestling that are practiced around the world such as those in the Olympic Games: freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling.

Big Eight Conference Former U.S. college athletics conference

The Big Eight Conference was a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)-affiliated Division I-A college athletic association that sponsored football. It was formed in January 1907 as the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MVIAA) by its charter member schools: the University of Kansas, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, and Washington University in St. Louis. Additionally, the University of Iowa was an original member of the MVIAA, while maintaining joint membership in the Western Conference.

NFL career

Sherk was selected in the second round (47th overall) of the 1970 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns. [7] His first game was on September 21, 1970, the first regular edition of Monday Night Football. [8] He became a starting player immediately, and soon became noted as having a knack for getting to the quarterback. [1] [9] Sherk was part of an AFC Central Division in which each team boasted All-Pro quality defensive tackles: the Pittsburgh Steelers' Joe Greene, the Cincinnati Bengals' Mike Reid, and the Houston Oilers' Curley Culp.

The following article details the history of Monday Night Football, the weekly broadcast of National Football League games on U.S. television.

In sports, a starting lineup is an official list of the set of players who will participate in the event when the game begins. The players in the starting lineup are commonly referred to as starters, whereas the others are substitutes or bench players.

Quarterback position in gridiron football

A quarterback, colloquially known as the "signal caller", is a position in American and Canadian football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive team and line up directly behind the offensive line. In modern American football, the quarterback is usually considered the leader of the offensive team, and is often responsible for calling the play in the huddle. The quarterback also touches the ball on almost every offensive play, and is the offensive player that almost always throws forward passes.

He was part of a 1972 Browns team that went 10-4 and advanced to the playoffs, losing to the undefeated Miami Dolphins. Sherk led the Browns in sacks with 10½ sacks and led teams' defensive linemen in tackles with 91, after totaling three sacks and 83 tackles in 1970 and 84 tackles with four 1/2 sacks in 1971. The following year Sherk played in his first Pro Bowl after sacking opposing quarterbacks 5½ times and making 100 tackles, most by any Brown defensive lineman that season. In 1974 Sherk made his second Pro Bowl and led the Browns with 10 sacks to go with his 94 tackles.

The 1972 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 23rd season with the National Football League.

Miami Dolphins National Football League franchise in Miami, Florida

The Miami Dolphins are a professional American football team based in the Miami metropolitan area. The Dolphins compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The Dolphins play their home games at Hard Rock Stadium in the northern suburb of Miami Gardens, Florida, and are headquartered in Davie, Florida. The Dolphins are Florida's oldest professional sports team. Of the four AFC East teams, they are the only team in the division that was not a charter member of the American Football League (AFL).

Quarterback sack

In American football and Canadian football, a sack occurs when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he can throw a forward pass, when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage in the "pocket" and his intent is unclear, or when a passer runs out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage due to defensive pressure. This often occurs if the opposing team's defensive line, linebackers or defensive backs are able to apply pass pressure to quickly get past blocking players of the offensive team, or if the quarterback is unable to find a back to hand the ball off to or an available eligible receiver to catch the ball, allowing the defense a longer opportunity to tackle the quarterback.

In 1975 Sherk made his third consecutive Pro Bowl and was named All-AFC. He matched his own career-high of 100 tackles and recorded six sacks. In 1976 Sherk recorded 12 sacks and 92 tackles and was voted the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA). Sherk was a consensus All-Pro, making the AP, PFWA, NEA teams as well as being consensus All-AFC for the second consecutive year. November 14, 1976 he set club record with four sacks in one game. He capped the season off by playing in his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl.

Newspaper Enterprise Association American editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service

The Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) is an editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service based in the United States and established in 1902. The oldest syndicate still in operation, the NEA was originally a secondary news service to the Scripps Howard News Service; it later evolved into a general syndicate best known for syndicating the comic strips Alley Oop, Our Boarding House, Freckles and His Friends, The Born Loser, Frank and Ernest, and Captain Easy / Wash Tubbs; in addition to an annual Christmas comic strip. Along with United Feature Syndicate, the NEA was part of United Media from 1978 to 2011, and is now a division of Andrews McMeel Syndication. The NEA once selected college All-America teams, and presented awards in professional football.

Associated Press American multinational nonprofit news agency

The Associated Press (AP) is a U.S.-based not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. Its members are U.S. newspapers and broadcasters. Its Statement of News Values and Principles spells out its standards and practices.

The Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA) is an organization that purports to be "[the] official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public." Goals of the organization include improving access to practices and locker rooms, developing working relationships with all teams, and ensuring that football writers are treated in a professional manner. As of 2005 the group consisted of over 300 writers, editors, and columnists who cover pro football. ESPN's Denver Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold is the organization’s president for the 2015–17 term.

At a September 1977 preseason match against the Green Bay Packers, Sherk seriously injured his knee. [10] Consequently, he was only able to play in seven games during the 1977 season. [11] He came back in 1978 recording a new career-high in tackles with 105 but only dropped opposing quarterbacks 3 times.

During a November 4, 1979 game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, an infected boil on Sherk's arm was scraped off; a staph infection from the field's astroturf entered his body through the wound and traveled to his knee. He was nearly killed by the infection. [9] [12] Sherk missed the last six games of the 1979 season. His substitute on the field was Henry Bradley. [12] The injury eventually proved to be more problematic than first imagined, and prevented Sherk from recovering for a healthy 1980 season: he played in only one game and recorded only one tackle.

He spent his final season, 1981, as a designated pass rusher, coming in to play defensive tackle when the Browns switched from a 3-4 defense to a four down lineman nickel defense. In that limited role he recorded 12 tackles and three sacks. In all, Sherk totaled 864 career tackles and 69½ sacks.[ citation needed ] Along the way, blocked 6 kicks, intercepted three passes, and recovered ten fumbles.[ citation needed ]

Post NFL career

Photography

After leaving football, Sherk worked as a sports photographer for roughly ten years. [7] His work was featured in Sports Illustrated , Pro! Magazine, and many newspapers. His photographs from this time period were featured in an exhibition titled Through the Eyes of a Defensive Lineman: The Cleveland Browns as Photographed by Jerry Sherk. [13] [14] The photo show was held December 14, 2010 at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, and was sponsored by the Cleveland Touchdown Club Charities. [13]

Mentoring

In 1991 Sherk returned to college, earning a master's degree in counseling psychology. He began counseling various vulnerable populations, becoming especially interested in working with at-risk children. Along the way he created a school-based group mentoring program that uses sports to teach young people how to reach goals in academics and life.

Personal life

Sherk resides in Encinitas, California in San Diego county, with his wife Ann. [9]

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References

  1. 1 2 Jerry Sherk at ClevelandBrowns.com.
  2. Eugene Register-Guard article: "People In Sports: Comeback in Cleveland – Jerry Sherk."
  3. The Bryan Times article: "Jerry Sherk retires from Browns."
  4. Beaver County Times article: "They go about their jobs quietly: Some guys aren't household names."
  5. NFL.com entry for Jerry Sherk.
  6. Eugene Register-Guard article: "People In Sports."
  7. 1 2 The Palm Beach Post article: "Browns' Sherk Retires to Pursue Photography."
  8. Montreal Gazette article: "Cosell: Monday night football had rocky start."
  9. 1 2 3 The Plain Dealer article: "When They Played the Game: Browns defensive lineman Jerry Sherk."
  10. Pittsburgh Press article: "Browns Sherk Injured."
  11. NFL.com page: "Jerry Sherk – 1977 stats.
  12. 1 2 Toledo Blade article: "Knee Infection Puts Sherk Out of Action."
  13. 1 2 Cleveland Touchdown Club page: "The Cleveland Touchdown Club Charities Presents "Through The Eyes of a Defensive Lineman: The Cleveland Browns as Photographed by Jerry Sherk".
  14. Jerry Sherk Photography: "Events."