L. J. Shelton

Last updated
L. J. Shelton
No. 70
Position: Offensive tackle
Personal information
Born: (1976-03-21) March 21, 1976 (age 43)
Corvallis, Oregon
Height:6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight:345 lb (156 kg)
Career information
College: Eastern Michigan
NFL Draft: 1999  / Round: 1 / Pick: 21
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games Played:146
Games Started:127
Player stats at NFL.com

L. J. Shelton (born March 21, 1976) is a former American football offensive tackle who played 10 seasons in the National Football League. He was originally drafted by the Arizona Cardinals 21st overall in the 1999 NFL Draft. He played college football at Eastern Michigan.

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, the team with possession of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with the ball or passing it, while the defense, the team without possession of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs or plays; if they fail, they turn over the football to the defense, but if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs to continue the drive. Points are scored primarily 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.

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 on the first Sunday in February and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Arizona Cardinals National Football League franchise in Glendale, Arizona

The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football franchise based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Cardinals compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The Cardinals were founded as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898, and are the oldest continuously run professional football team in the United States. The Cardinals play their home games at State Farm Stadium, which opened in 2006 and is located in the northwestern suburb of Glendale.

Contents

Shelton also played for the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, and San Diego Chargers.

Cleveland Browns National Football League franchise in Cleveland, Ohio

The Cleveland Browns are a professional American football team based in Cleveland, Ohio. Named after original coach and co-founder Paul Brown, they 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.

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 home games are at Hard Rock Stadium in the northern suburb of Miami Gardens, Florida, and are headquartered in Davie, Florida. The Dolphins are the oldest professional sports team in Florida. 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).

Early years

Shelton attended Rochester High School in Rochester Hills, Michigan where he lettered in football and basketball. Shelton played football in his early years but sat out the first half of his senior season to concentrate on basketball. When Shelton changed his mind and wanted to play football his senior season his teammates voted him back on the team and he joined them 4 games into the season. He was a co-captain on the basketball team.

Rochester High School is located in Rochester Hills, Michigan, United States, and is part of the Rochester Community Schools. It was established in 1883, and classes have been held in the current facility since 1955.

Rochester Hills, Michigan City in Michigan, United States

Rochester Hills is a city in northeast Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan, in the northern outskirts of the Metro Detroit area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 70,995.

Michigan U.S. state in the United States

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.

College career

Shelton was a four-year letterman (1995–1998) at Eastern Michigan who started his final three seasons at left tackle. As a junior, he protected the blind side of former NFL quarterback Charlie Batch. As a senior, he graded out at 90 percent for blocking consistency, as he registered a career-high 102 knockdowns for an offense that accumulated 3,985 yards. He was a second-team All-America pick by The Sports Network that year, and a first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection each of his final two seasons.

Quarterback Position in gridiron football

The 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.

Charlie Batch American football quarterback

Charles D'Donte Batch is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft and played 15 seasons in the NFL, most of it as a backup with his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, with whom he earned two Super Bowl rings. He played college football at Eastern Michigan.

An All-America team is a hypothetical American sports team composed of outstanding amateur players. These players are broadly considered by media and other relevant commentators as the best players in a particular sport, of a specific season, for each team position.

Professional career

Arizona Cardinals

Shelton was drafted with the 21st overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals and then-head coach Vince Tobin. A contract holdout caused him to miss all of training camp, and he eventually signed his rookie contract on September 25 - two games into the regular season. The team received a roster exemption for two more games. He went on to play in nine games, including seven starts, making his NFL debut in a reserve role against the New York Giants on October 10. The first start of his NFL career came against the New England Patriots on October 31, and he proceeded to open seven games in a row. A sprained ankle sustained in second half at the Washington Redskins on December 12 forced him out of action the rest of the year.

1999 NFL Draft

The 1999 NFL draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 17–18, 1999, at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The league also held a supplemental draft after the regular draft and before the regular season.

Vincent Michael Tobin is an American football coach and former college player who was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). During his four decades of coaching, he served as defensive coordinator for college, NFL, and Canadian Football League (CFL) teams.

New York Giants National Football League franchise in East Rutherford, New Jersey

The New York Giants are a professional American football team based in the New York metropolitan area. The Giants compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team plays its home games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which it shares with the New York Jets in a unique arrangement. The Giants hold their summer training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Shelton started all 14 games in which he played at left tackle for the Cardinals in 2000, including each of the final 13. He sustained a sprained right knee in the season opener at the New York Giants on September 3 and was inactive the next two games. He was part of an offensive line that allowed just 35 sacks - the lowest total by a Cardinals team since 1994.

For the first time in his career, Shelton opened all 16 contests at left tackle in 2001. He participated in all 955 offensive snaps on the season and was a member of an offensive line that yielded just 29 sacks - the second-fewest by a Cardinals team in a 16-game season.

Shelton started all 16 games at left tackle in 2002, the second consecutive season in which he opened every contest and the only Arizona offensive lineman to achieve that feat in 2002. He took part in all but nine offensive snaps over the course of the year, and was part of a line that helped the Cardinals average 113.9 yards rushing per game and a 4.4-yard average per attempt.

In 2003, Shelton started the first 15 games of the season at left tackle for Arizona and took part in all 921 offensive snaps over that time. He sustained a sprained ankle at the Seattle Seahawks on December 21 and was inactive for finale against the Minnesota Vikings the following week.

Shelton played in 12 games during his final season with the Cardinals in 2004, starting nine of them at right tackle. He was inactive for season opener at the St. Louis Rams, and was placed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury on December 14 which caused him to miss the final three contests.

During the following offseason, Shelton was the subject of various trade rumors. He was linked to the Chicago Bears, and to a trade with the Buffalo Bills that would have sent running back Travis Henry to Arizona. The Cardinals drafted Virginia offensive guard Elton Brown in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft which further cemented the end of Shelton's tenure with the team. He was finally released on May 18, 2005.

Cleveland Browns

As a free agent in 2005, Shelton received interest from teams like the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Cleveland Browns joined the race, and after it appeared to come down to the Browns and Texans, Shelton chose to sign a one-year deal with the Browns on June 3.

Shelton arrived at Browns camp slightly out of shape, but went on to impress head coach Romeo Crennel and won the left tackle job. He started all 16 games at left tackle in his lone season for the Browns and was part of a line that led the way for running back Reuben Droughns, who amassed 1,232 yards rushing as he became Cleveland’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 1985.

Miami Dolphins

The Browns were interested in re-signing Shelton, who was an unrestricted free agent in 2006. They worked on a new contract with Shelton and his agent before and after free agency began, but the Miami Dolphins signed him to a four-year deal on March 15. The contract was worth a total of $15 million and included a $3.5 million signing bonus. It had base salaries of $2.0 million (2006), $2.0 million (2007), $3.0 million (2008), and $3.75 million (2009).

Shelton struggled heavily during the first five games of the season at left tackle, and coupled with quarterback Daunte Culpepper - who as not entirely healthy while recovering from knee surgery - the Dolphins' offense struggled as a whole. Shelton found a new home at right guard, where the Dolphins had several injuries prior to Shelton's arrival at the position. While the line was never exceptional in 2006, the combination that included Shelton at right guard and Damion McIntosh at left tackle did help the progression of the team's offense as the season went on. Shelton would start the final 11 games of the season at right guard after starting the first five at left tackle.

Due his contract, Shelton is almost guaranteed a chance to earn a starting job in 2007. He could possibly be shifted back to left tackle, depending on what the team does in the draft and free agency, and whether the organization can re-sign offensive tackle Damion McIntosh. Because of Vernon Carey's move to left tackle, coach Cam Cameron has stated that LJ Shelton will be the starting right tackle.

On February 11, 2008, Shelton was one of nine players released by the Dolphins.

San Diego Chargers

On April 29, 2008, the San Diego Chargers signed Shelton to a two-year contract. He was released after one season with the team.

Personal

Shelton is the son of former National Basketball Association player Lonnie Shelton. [1] Shelton's younger brothers include, Marlon, who played basketball at the University of Washington from 1998–2003; Titus, who played basketball from 2005-2009 for the California Polytechnic State University, and Tim who played basketball for San Diego State University from 2007 to 2012 and is currently an Assistant Coach for Fresno State University. Shelton has a child by the name of Ajani Shelton.

Shelton majored in telecommunications and film at Eastern Michigan.

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