Alonzo Spellman

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Alonzo Spellman
No. 90
Position: Defensive lineman
Personal information
Date of birth: (1971-09-27) September 27, 1971 (age 43)
Place of birth: Mount Holly Township, New Jersey
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight: 292 lb (132 kg)
Career information
High school: Mt. Holly (NJ) Rancocas Valley
College: Ohio State
NFL draft: 1992 / Round: 1 / Pick: 22
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Stats at
Stats at

Alonzo Robert Spellman (born September 27, 1971) is a former American football defensive lineman in the National Football League who played for the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and the Detroit Lions. He also played in the Arena Football League for the Las Vegas Gladiators, and has participated in mixed martial arts.

High school career[edit]

While attending Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly Township, New Jersey, Spellman starred in both football and basketball. Spellman stood 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) tall and weighed approximately 250 pounds (110 kg). As a senior, in football, he won USA Today All-America honors and was named the New Jersey Player of the Year.[1]

College career[edit]

Spellman was a three-year starter and team captain at The Ohio State University.

NFL career[edit]

Spellman was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round (22nd overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft and was one of the youngest defensive lineman ever selected, at 20 years old. He started all but one game in his first five seasons in the league, recording a total of 30 sacks.

Spellman injured his shoulder in 1997 and after some off-field incidents, he was cut by the Bears. He did not play during the 1998 season. In 1999, he was signed by the Cowboys and played with them for two seasons, finishing his career with the Lions in 2001.

NFL stats[edit]

Year Team Games Combined Tackles Tackles Assisted Tackles Sacks Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries
1992 CHI 15 0 0 0 4.0 0 0
1993 CHI 16 19 14 5 2.5 1 0
1994 CHI 16 39 27 12 7.0 1 0
1995 CHI 16 49 32 17 8.5 4 1
1996 CHI 16 45 37 8 8.0 2 0
1997 CHI 7 12 8 4 2.0 0 0
1999 DAL 16 16 13 3 5.0 0 1
2000 DAL 16 24 18 6 5.0 1 0
2001 DET 5 3 3 0 1.0 0 0
Career 123 207 152 55 43.0 9 2


Post-NFL career[edit]

After a few years off from football, Spellman attempted to make a comeback but was unable to land a job with an NFL team. He ended up signing with the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League. Spellman recorded one sack in his first season with the Gladiators.

Spellman made his mixed martial arts debut on November 11, 2006, defeating Antoine Hayes by unanimous decision. The fight was part of XFO 13, "Operation Beatdown", and took place at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, IL.[3]

Struggles with bipolar disorder[edit]

Spellman exhibited erratic behavior during his time with the Bears. The first public incident occurred in March 1998 when Spellman became enraged when a doctor was late for an appointment. He pulled a telephone off of a wall and threatened suicide. Complicating matters, Spellman had access to alcohol and a firearm and by this time weighed approximately 300 lbs (136 kg). Authorities were called in, and friend and former teammate Mike Singletary persuaded Spellman to check into a hospital. Spellman shortly left the hospital of his own accord.[1]

Spellman was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but refused to take medication, instead becoming increasingly reliant on illicit drugs and alcohol. This led to even more erratic behavior and run-ins with the law. These problems, along with his refusal to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his injured shoulder led to Spellman's release by the Bears.

Spellman started taking medication and successfully managed his disorder during his time with the Cowboys and Lions. However, after his NFL career ended, Spellman stopped taking his medication and again ran into problems with the law. Most notably, he had a manic episode on July 23, 2002 in which he disrupted a flight from Cincinnati to Philadelphia. Spellman initially suggested that the flight was going to crash, then became verbally abusive to other passengers and threatened members of the flight crew.[1] The plane was forced to make an emergency landing. Spellman was released, but then damaged property at his brother's home and was taken to a psychiatric hospital. He was later arrested on charges of interference with a flight crew.[4] Although doctors confirmed that he had bipolar disorder, Spellman was determined to be legally sane and spent 18 months in federal prison.[5]

In interviews with ESPN, Spellman has said he now knows how important it is to take the medication for his disorder. He had hoped to return to the NFL, but his age and history presented significant barriers to a comeback.[1] He is now "100 percent into" mixed martial arts.[6]

Spellman was arrested again[7] on January 29, 2008, leading authorities on a pursuit after being involved in an apparent altercation at a Tulsa, Oklahoma convenience store. The chase ended after three of the tires on Spellman's car were deflated by spike strips and pepper-spray pellets were fired after Spellman refused to get out of the vehicle. In June 2012, Spellman was released from prison after pleading no contest to ten counts of eluding police officers on the 2008 charge.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Garber, Greg. "Spellman returns to football after addressing disorder"., June 9, 2006. [1]
  2. ^ "Alonzo Spellman Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Savage, Greg. "Incidents Mar XFO, Curran's Victory"., November 14, 2006. [2]
  4. ^ Author unknown. "Cowboys' Newton sentenced in drug case",, August 20, 2002. [3]
  5. ^ Author Dalzell, Stewart. "United States of America v. Alonzo Spellman", February 4, 2003. [4]
  6. ^ Modrowski, Roman. "Ex-Bear Spellman going to Xtreme". Chicago Sun-Times, November 9, 2006. [5]
  7. ^ "Tulsa police arrest former NFL player Alonzo Spellman". USA Today. Associated Press. January 29, 2008. Retrieved June 20, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Ex-Lion Alonzo Spellman released from jail". Detroit News. Associated Press. June 19, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Stan Thomas
Bears 1st round draft pick
Succeeded by
Curtis Conway