|No. 45, 50, 57, 59|
|Born:||May 6, 1957|
Fairview Park, Ohio
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||225 lb (102 kg)|
|High school:||Lakewood (OH) St. Edward|
|NFL Draft:||1979 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com|
Thomas Michael Cousineau (born May 6, 1957) is an American former college and professional football player who was a linebacker in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and National Football League (NFL) for nine seasons during the 1970s and 1980s. He played college football for Ohio State University, and twice earned All-American honors. He was the first overall pick of the 1979 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the CFL's Montreal Alouettes and the NFL's Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.
Cousineau is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, elected in the class of 2016.He is also a member of the Ohio State Varsity "O" Hall of Fame, inducted in 1995, and St. Edward High School Hall of Fame. Cousineau was the recipient of the Silver Anniversary Butkus Award in 2003.
Cousineau was born in Fairview Park, Ohio, to Carol and Tom Cousineau Sr, who was the head football and a wrestling coach at Lakewood (Ohio) High School. Consequently, his mother did not want him to play football under the shadow of his father.Thus, Cousineau played high school football for nearby St. Edward High School, which is several blocks away in Lakewood. He excelled and was one of the most highly recruited football players in the country in his senior year. He graduated in 1975.
Cousineau was also an accomplished wrestler. In 1975, under legendary coach Howard Ferguson, he lost to future NFL player Bob Golic from cross-town all-boys school rival St. Joseph High School in the Ohio state wrestling tournament semifinals in the heavyweight weight class. The match has been called "one of the most memorable,"Golic would go on to win the state title and Cousineau would finish in third place. Golic would go to be two-time All-American at heavyweight at Notre Dame. Cousineau and Golic would eventually become teammates in the NFL with the Browns.
Cousineau attended Ohio State University, where he played for legendary coach Woody Hayes' Ohio State Buckeyes football team from 1975 to 1978. During that span, Ohio State had an overall record of 36-10-2 and 28–4 in the Big Ten, were three-time Big Ten champs. The Buckeyes played four bowl games after each of the seasons he played: in the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Gator Bowl. They were a Top 5 team for 36 weeks over these four years and the No. 1 team in the nation for eight weeks in 1975, and ultimately finished fourth, sixth and 12th in the final Associated Press polls in 1975, 1976 and 1977, respectively.
Cousineau majored in marketing.He was a consensus first-team All-American, breaking the school record with 211 tackles in a single season in 1978, an average of 17.5 a game. He also broke the school record for most tackles in a game with 29 against Penn State in 1978, and was the MVP of the 1977 Orange Bowl.
Cousineau's last game for the Buckeyes was the infamous 1978 Gator Bowl against Clemson, during which Coach Hayes punched Clemson linebacker Charlie Bauman in the final minutes of the game.Hayes was fired the following day for the incident.
Cousineau still holds many of Ohio State's tackling records. As of 2016, he holds six of the top 10 single-game tackling records, 29 single-game tackles (since tied by fellow College Football Hall of Famer Chris Spielman), most solo tackles in a single game, (16 against SMU in 1978). He also ranks second on both the all-time OSU tackle list with 569 (three behind Marcus Marek) and on the career solo tackles list with 259.
He was named an All-American in 1977 and 1978. The Chicago Tribune named him the MVP of the Big Ten in 1978.He graduated from OSU in 1979. In 2016, he became the 25th Ohio State player, along with seven Buckeye coaches, to be named to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Cousineau was drafted first overall in the 1979 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, who acquired the pick as a part of a package of five draft picks from the San Francisco 49ers in a 1978 trade for O. J. Simpson.However, he never played a game for the Bills. He instead signed with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes, who signed him for double the money originally offered by the Bills. Cousineau became a star for the Alouettes, becoming the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player in the 1979 season. He only played in four games in his third season because of an elbow injury while the Alouettes collapsed.
In 1982, Cousineau wanted to return to the NFL, choosing to forego two optional years with the Alouettes. The Houston Oilers attempted to sign him, but the Bills (who still held Cousineau's NFL rights) matched the offer. Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell had long been interested in signing him.Cousineau was then traded from the Bills to the Cleveland Browns for a first-round draft choice (14th overall) in the 1983 NFL Draft, plus a second and a third draft choice in subsequent years. That first-round pick was used on future Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Cousineau signed a five-year contract for $2.5 million, the highest contract ever at the time by the Browns.
In 1983, Cousineau was arrested in connection with minor collision with a police car on Saint Patrick's DayHe was charged with drunk driving, improperly using traffic lanes, and not having his driver's license. He was subsequently found not guilty of the drunk driving charge, but guilty of the moving violation (the driver's license charge was dropped).
During Cousineau's four seasons with the Browns, he led the team in tackles for three seasons. In the 1983 season, he intercepted 4 passes and was named a 2nd-team All-NFL by the NEA. He was also named 2nd-team all NFL by the AP in 1984, but never made the Pro Bowl in his career. He was considered an overpaid disappointment in Cleveland, while Bills fans fondly remember the fact that the man who once snubbed them for the CFL was traded for Jim Kelly. Cousineau signed with the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent after the 1985 season where he played two years as a reserve before retiring in 1987. Cousineau finished his NFL career with ten interceptions and 6.5 career sacks.
St. Edward inducted Cousineau to the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.He married Lisa June 16, 1990, and has 2 daughters Kyle and Kacey. On February 8, 2006, Cousineau announced plans to run for a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives as a Republican in the Akron, Ohio area. He won the May primary but lost the November election to Democrat Brian Williams by a margin of 58% to 42%.
On April 20, 2009, Cousineau joined the St. Vincent – St. Mary High School football coaching staff as a linebackers coach.[ citation needed ] Cousineau later went on to be the linebackers coach at St. Edward High School (Ohio)
William Karnet Willis was an American football defensive tackle who played eight seasons for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and the National Football League (NFL). Known for his quickness and strength despite his small stature, Willis was one of the dominant defensive football players of the 1940s and early 1950s. He was named an All-Pro in every season of his career and reached the NFL's Pro Bowl in three of the four seasons he played in the league. His techniques and style of play were emulated by other teams, and his versatility as a pass-rusher and coverage man influenced the development of the modern-day linebacker position. When he retired, Cleveland coach Paul Brown called him "one of the outstanding linemen in the history of professional football".
Robert Perry Golic is an American former college and professional football player, television actor, radio personality and sports commentator.
Michael George Vrabel is an American football coach and former linebacker who is the head coach of the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Ohio State University, where he earned consensus All-American honors. Vrabel was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft, joined the New England Patriots as a free agent in 2001, where he became an All-Pro and a three-time Super Bowl champion, then finished his career with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Orlando Lamar Pace is a former American football offensive tackle who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons, primarily with the St. Louis Rams. Pace played college football at Ohio State, where he twice received Unanimous All-American honors, and was selected by the Rams first overall in the 1997 NFL Draft. He spent all but one season of his professional career in St. Louis, concluding his NFL tenure as a member of the Chicago Bears.
Randy Charles Gradishar is a retired American football linebacker who played in the 1970s and 1980s. A native of Ohio, Gradishar was a two-time consensus All-American for the Ohio State Buckeyes, before playing ten seasons for the NFL's Denver Broncos, where he was the centerpiece of the "Orange Crush Defense".
John David Tatum was an American football safety who played 10 seasons from 1971 through 1980 for the Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers in the National Football League (NFL). He was popularly known as "The Assassin" because of his playing style. Tatum was voted to three consecutive Pro Bowls (1973–1975) and was a member of one Super Bowl-winning team in his nine seasons with the Raiders. He is also known for a hit he made against New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley in a 1978 preseason game that paralyzed Stingley from the chest down.
Thomas Lee Mack is a former American football player. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Andrew Warren Katzenmoyer is a former football player who was a linebacker. He was selected in the first round of the 1999 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. He played college football for Ohio State, and became the first Buckeye to win the Butkus Award. His playing career was shortened due to a neck injury.
Aaron James Hawk is an American sports analyst and former American football linebacker who played 11 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers fifth overall in the 2006 NFL Draft and he would later win Super Bowl XLV with the team over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was also a member of the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons. He played college football at Ohio State, where he earned All-American honors twice and won the Lombardi Award as a senior. He won the BCS National Championship with the Buckeyes as a freshman.
The 1979 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 May 3–4, 1979, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, New York. The league also held a supplemental draft after the regular draft and before the regular season.
Charles Christopher Spielman is a former American football player and is a special assistant to the owner and CEO for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He played linebacker at Ohio State University, where he was a two-time All-American, and for the Detroit Lions in the National Football League (NFL), where he was a three-time All Pro. He also played for the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, and coached for the Arena Football League's Columbus Destroyers. He was a broadcaster for Fox Sports and ESPN from 1999 to 2020.
Thomas "Pepper" Johnson is an American football coach and former linebacker, who is currently the defensive coordinator for Tampa Bay Bandits. He played in the National Football League for 13 seasons, the first seven of which were for the New York Giants. He won two Super Bowls with the Giants before playing for the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and New York Jets.
Matthew Wilhelm is a former American college and professional football player and a current radio/TV football analyst.
Richard Philip Schafrath was an American offensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns, former Ohio State Senator, and author. During his tenure as an athlete, he won a national football championship with the 1957 Ohio State University Buckeyes and the 1964 NFL Championship with the Cleveland Browns. Because of his strong work ethic and occasional stubborn determination friends and teammates nicknamed him "The Mule".
James Edward Houston was an American football linebacker who played 13 seasons in the National Football League with the Cleveland Browns. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
The 1979 Buffalo Bills season was the franchise's 10th season in the National Football League, and 20th overall.
Van Ness DeCree, from Warren, Ohio, is a former football defensive end who was a two-time All-American at Ohio State University. DeCree is a member of the Ohio State Football Hall of Fame He was also a three-year starter and a three-time All-Big 10 selection at defensive end, having been voted all-conference as a sophomore, junior, and senior. He was also voted to the Ohio State Football All-Century Team in 1999.
Darron Lee is an American football linebacker who is a free agent. He played college football at Ohio State and was drafted by the New York Jets in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.
Baron Browning is an American football linebacker for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Ohio State.
Thayer Munford is an American football offensive tackle who currently plays for the Ohio State Buckeyes.