No. 54, 56
|Date of birth:August 30, 1975|
|Place of birth: Lacoochee, Florida|
|High school: Pasco (FL)|
|College: South Carolina|
|NFL Draft: 1998 / Round: 5 / Pick: 130|
|Debuted in 1998 for the Dallas Cowboys|
|Last played in 2002 for the Cleveland Browns|
|Roster status: Retired|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
|Stats at pro-football-reference.com|
|Stats at DatabaseFootball.com|
At 6'2" and 227 lbs, Hambrick had his best season in 2000 when he led the Dallas Cowboys with 154 tackles. Hambrick later played for the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers. He played college football first at the University of Florida and then he transferred to the University of South Carolina.
Hambrick and his brother Troy helped Pasco High School win the 1992 Class 3A state championship in football. In 1999 he was chosen as the best football player in Pasco County history by the St. Petersburg Times. He was an all-state linebacker and a track standout, as well as a basketball player.
He began his collegiate career at the University of Florida where he was productive in his first two years. As a sophomore he had 59 tackles and 2 interceptions, including an 81 yards interception return for a touchdown against the University of Georgia. Head coach Steve Spurrier kicked him off the team just prior to the 1995 Sugar Bowl, after he got into an altercation in which he struck another player in the jaw with broken glass.
He transferred to the University of South Carolina and was named second team All-SEC in 1996 after making 83 tackles. Entering his senior season in 1997, he fractured his left ankle fibula in the season opener and was lost for the year.
In 1999 he earned the starting job at strongside linebacker for most of the season (12 starts), finishing with 58 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. Prior to the final regular season game, the team convinced Quentin Coryatt to unretire and replace Hambrick in the starting lineup. Coryatt ended up getting hurt and Hambrick started in the Cowboys' playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings. On January 26, 1999, he was arrested after fleeing from police officers who tried to pull him over for speeding.
Hambrick was seen as a rising player after being the team's leading tackler (154) in the 2000 season, but personal problems started to surface when he refused to come out of the final regular-season game and ignored head coach Dave Campo when he was approached after the game. He also engaged in a contract dispute with the Cowboys during the offseason, after feeling mistreated as a restricted free agent, when he was tendered an offer of $512,000 dollars.
After missing two of three minicamps in a protest over his salary, Campo demoted him to second string during the first two weeks of training camp in 2001. He was suspended for the Cowboys' final preseason game and the regular-season opener, because of a curfew violation while the team was in Mexico City to finish the preseason. Hambrick was released by the Cowboys on October 23, 2001, because of personal conflicts and violations of team rules, even though at the time he was fourth on the team with 22 tackles through the first five games of the year.
In Dallas he is best known for replying "What do voluntary mean?" when asked why he did not report to offseason workouts in 2001. His quote is often referenced in jest by the Dallas sports media.
Hambrick was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers, starting in eight of nine games and leading the team in tackles twice. During his tenure with the team, he reported as stolen a paycheck from the Panthers he had already cashed. At the end of the season he wasn't re-signed.
Although he was arrested on a grand theft charge, the Browns offered a $520,000 dollars one-year contract which he turned down to negotiate better conditions. He wasn't re-signed, ending a five-year NFL career that was cut short because of his off-the-field issues.
Tampa Bay Storm (AFL)
Among a number of criminal incidents, on November 20, 2008 Hambrick was sentenced to 12 months probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery. He then violated his probation in May 2010 and in July 2010 had his probation revoked and was sentenced to 30 days in the Pasco County Jail.
- Sullivan, Erin. "Former NFL player Darren Hambrick in Pasco jail on probation violation". St. Petersburg Times.