Dwight Freeney

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Dwight Freeney
Dwight Freeney.JPG
At a game in Denver, September 2010.
No. 93     San Diego Chargers
Outside linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1980-02-19) February 19, 1980 (age 34)
Place of birth: Hartford, Connecticut
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 268 lb (122 kg)
Career information
High school: Bloomfield (CT)
College: Syracuse
NFL Draft: 2002 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11
Debuted in 2002 for the Indianapolis Colts
Career history
Roster status: Reserve/Injured
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2013
Tackles 300
Quarterback sacks 108.0
Interceptions 0
Forced fumbles 44
Safeties 1
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

Dwight Jason Freeney (born February 19, 1980) is an American football linebacker for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Syracuse University, and earned unanimous All-American honors. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round, 11th overall, of the 2002 NFL Draft and is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection.

Early years[edit]

Freeney was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He attended Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Freeney was a four-sport letterman, earning four letters in baseball in which he was coached by Alphonso Ford; four in basketball; three in football, in which he played both ways; and one in soccer, in which he played goalie in his freshman year before switching over to football. Freeney currently holds the record for sacks at his high school and most sacks in a high school career in the Connecticut record book. Bloomfield High retired his No. 44 football jersey.[1] During his youth, Freeney idolized New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, whom he later met at a charity golf tournament after turning pro.[2]

College career[edit]

Freeney received an athletic scholarship to attend Syracuse University, where he played for the Syracuse Orange football team from 1998 to 2001. A two-year starter for the Orangemen, he set a school record with 17.5 sacks in his senior season and his 34 career sacks rank second in school history to Tim Green (45.5).[3][4] Freeney was the school's premier pass rusher, and once had a string of 17 consecutive games with at least one sack. Against Virginia Tech, Freeney sacked elusive Hokies quarterback Michael Vick 4.5 times in one game.[5]

He finished his college career with 104 tackles (68 unassisted), 34 quarterback sacks, 51 tackles for a loss, and 43 quarterback pressures.[6] He was a first-team All-Big East Conference selection in 2000 and 2001, and was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American following his senior season in 2001.[7]

While attending Syracuse at a then 255-pounds, Freeney was clocked at 4.40 second 40-yard dash and recorded 40-inch vertical jump. This is one of the fastest times ever recorded by a defensive lineman.

Dwight still returns to Syracuse for his summer workouts, and serves as mentor to Syracuse players, including former walk-on Josh Arrington from the 2006-2008 season.

Professional career[edit]

2002 NFL Combine[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 1 in 266 lb 4.48 s 40 in 28 reps
All values from NFL Combine

Indianapolis Colts[edit]

Freeney was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the 11th selection in the 2002 NFL Draft. He set an NFL rookie record in 2002 with 9 forced fumbles, three of which occurred in a single game against former Syracuse football player, Donovan McNabb. Freeney was the runner up for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

When drafted by Indianapolis at 270 lbs Freeney was clocked at 4.48 second 40 yard dash and the same 40 inch vertical jump.

In 2004, Freeney's third season, he led the NFL with 16 sacks. At the end of his third season, Freeney's season marked him as the 3rd fastest player to achieve 40 sacks. He developed a spin move which became his trade mark pass rush move.[8]

In 2006, Freeney would help the Colts defeat the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI to become NFL Champions.

Freeney attempts to sack Michael Vick at the 2006 Pro Bowl.

On February 19, 2007, the Colts placed the franchise tag on Freeney following the expiration of his rookie contract. This move allowed Bill Polian and the Colts front office time to work on a long term contract.[9] On July 13, 2007 Freeney signed a six-year, $72 million contract with $30 million in guarantees making Freeney one of the highest paid defensive players in the NFL.[10]

Freeney was fined $20,000 by the NFL for his expletive-laced interview following the end of the Colts 2008-09 playoff campaign which ended with a 23-17 overtime playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers. The NFL cited Freeney for making "inappropriate comments on officiating," according to the Indianapolis Star. Freeney, frustrated by the three defensive penalties incurred as the Chargers made their game-winning drive, told Yahoo! Sports after the game: "Those were the worst [expletive] calls I've seen in a long time ... To have a game of that magnitude taken out of your hands, it's just disgusting. It's not like they made one [expletive] bad call -- it's three calls, in overtime ... They need to start investigating some other [expletive]."[11]

In 2012, Freeney converted from defensive end to outside linebacker under new head coach Chuck Pagano.[12][13] Due to injury, Freeney had a career-low year with only five sacks and twelve tackles.

On February 15, 2013, Freeney was told he would not be re-signed by the Colts.[14][15] Freeney left as the all-time franchise leader in sacks with 107.5, eventually being surpassed by former teammate Robert Mathis the next season. Mathis would also break Freeney's franchise record of 16 sacks in a season the following season too.

San Diego Chargers[edit]

On May 18, 2013, Freeney signed a two-year deal with the San Diego Chargers.[16]

Career Statistics[edit]

Years Team GP COMB TOTAL AST SACK FF FR FR YDS INT IR YDS AVG IR LNG IR TD PD
2002 IND 16 41 40 1 13.0 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2003 IND 15 31 27 4 11.0 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2004 IND 16 34 31 3 16.0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2005 IND 16 34 29 5 11.0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
2006 IND 16 29 26 3 5.5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
2007 IND 9 21 18 3 3.5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2008 IND 15 28 24 4 10.5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 IND 14 24 19 5 13.5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2010 IND 16 25 21 4 10.0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
2011 IND 16 19 13 6 8.5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2012 IND 14 12 10 2 5.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2013 SD 4 2 1 1 0.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total Total 167 300 259 41 108.0 44 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 15

[17]

Key

  • GP: games played
  • COMB: combined tackles
  • TOTAL: total tackles
  • AST: assisted tackles
  • SACK: sacks
  • FF: forced fumbles
  • FR: fumble recoveries
  • FR YDS: fumble return yards
  • INT: interceptions
  • IR YDS: interception return yards
  • AVG IR: average interception return
  • LNG: longest interception return
  • TD: interceptions returned for touchdown
  • PD: passes defensed

Personal life[edit]

His brother Hugh was a high school quarterback and currently is a math teacher at Rockville High School in Rockville, MD. Freeney also won the annual Madden Bowl in 2003 and 2004.

On March 28, 2012, his financial advisor was arrested and charged with embezzling $2.2 million from Freeney.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.blmfld.org/page.cfm?p=3379
  2. ^ Crouse, Karen (January 2007). "Using Quickness, Colts’ Freeney Is Spinning Into Control". The New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ http://www.fbsstatistics.com/careersacks1980.htm
  4. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/football_records/DI/2009/2009FBS.pdf
  5. ^ "Dwight Freeney: The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts". Colts.com. 
  6. ^ http://ind.scout.com/a.z?s=113&p=8&c=1&nid=3148060
  7. ^ 2011 NCAA Football Records Book, Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, p. 11 (2011). Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  8. ^ Crumpacker, John (October 31, 2009). "Smallish pass-rush duo creates big problems". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 31, 2009. 
  9. ^ http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/IND/10007910
  10. ^ ESPN - Freeney's deal cap friendly for 2007, 2008 - NFL
  11. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs2008/news/story?id=3823511
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Freeney: I'm not like LeBron trying to leave the team-Pro Football Talk Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Report: Colts release Dwight Freeney, Austin Collie". SI.com. February 15, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  15. ^ Alper, Josh (February 15, 2013). "Report: Colts won’t re-sign Dwight Freeney, Austin Collie". NBCSports.com. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  16. ^ http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000204165/article/dwight-freeney-san-diego-chargers-agree-to-contract
  17. ^ "Dwight Freeney". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Lovers Swindle NFL All-Pro". Huffington Post. March 28, 2012. 

External links[edit]