91, 96, 98
|Date of birth:May 29, 1976|
|Place of birth: Accra, Ghana|
|College: North Carolina|
|NFL Draft: 1999 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20|
|Debuted in 1999 for the Dallas Cowboys|
|Last played in 2008 for the Denver Broncos|
|Roster status: Retired|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2008
|Stats at pro-football-reference.com|
|Stats at DatabaseFootball.com|
Ebenezer Ekuban, Jr. (born May 29, 1976 in Accra, Ghana) is a retired American football defensive end. He was originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round (20th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. He played college football for the University of North Carolina.
Ekuban started playing football during his junior year of high school, as a tight end and defensive lineman for Bladensburg High School in Bladensburg, Maryland. He was an honor student and soon turned into a standout player, which led to a scholarship from the University of North Carolina.
As a tight end, he had only 6 receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown in his first two years. He was converted to defensive end between his sophomore and junior seasons. As a junior he played in 10 games (2 starts). He became a full-time starter as a senior and went on to register 96 tackles, 7 sacks and a school record 23 tackles for loss. He received All-American and All-ACC honors.
|Ht||Wt||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|6 ft 3 in||281 lb||4.72 s||4.39 s||32 in||9 ft 4 in|
|All values from NFL Combine|
Although the Dallas Cowboys had invested their first draft choice in selecting a defensive end in 3 of the previous 5 drafts, they were still looking to replace the production of Charles Haley and Tony Tolbert. With only two years of total experience at defensive end, the team thought that Ekuban was coming into his own, so they traded to the Seattle Seahawks the 22nd and 140th selections, in exchange for the 20th pick, in order to draft him in the first round of the 1999 NFL draft.
The Cowboys wanted Ekuban to become the pass-rushing bookend to former Tar Heel teammate Greg Ellis. As a rookie he played in 16 games (2 starts) and was named to the NFL All-Rookie team. In 2000 he remained in a reserve role and although he missed 4 games with a dislocated toe, he still led the team with 6.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.
In 2001 he was named the starter at right defensive end, but suffered a herniated disc in the season-opener and was placed on the injured reserve list. The next year in 15 starts, he registered 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and at the time career-highs of 43 tackles and 20 quarterback pressures. Although he played a key role in the defense, he was still one of just five starting defensive ends in the NFL with one or no sacks.
In 2003 he had a nice start with 1.5 sacks against the New York Giants, but found himself in new head coach Bill Parcells' dog house and was eventually deactivated in a December game against the Philadelphia Eagles. This led to a brief public confrontation between the two in the media.
At the end of the year, the Cowboys did not make an attempt to re-sign him, preferring to instead sign free agent defensive end Marcellus Wiley. Ekuban left as a first round disappointment, that came into the league as a speed rusher, but could only produce 13 sacks in 5 seasons.
He signed with the Cleveland Browns as a free agent in 2004, reuniting with defensive coordinator Dave Campo. Playing alongside Gerard Warren and Courtney Brown, who were also considered first round disappointments, he went on to have a strong season with 39 tackles and a career high 8 sacks in 16 games (11 starts).
In the 2005 offseason, new head coach Romeo Crennel changed the defensive line personnel, in order to implement a new 3-4 front. Ekuban was traded to the Denver Broncos, along with defensive tackle Michael Myers, in exchange for running back Reuben Droughns.
With the Broncos also signing free agent Courtney Brown, as well as obtaining Ekuban, Myers and Gerard Warren in separate trades with the Browns, the local media referred to the Broncos new defensive line as the "Browncos", since all four starters were also the Browns starters the year before, under new defensive line coach Andre Patterson. In 2005, he registered 27 tackles and 4 sacks in 16 games (4 starts). The next year he had 63 tackles and 7 sacks in 15 starts.
In 2008 he was re-signed to a one-year $3.12 million contract, to compete with Jarvis Moss and John Engelberger for the left defensive end position. Ekuban was the last remaining "Brownco", as Warren was traded to the Oakland Raiders the year before and Brown and Myers were waived in previous years. He finished the season with 38 tackles and 5 sacks in 15 games (10 starts).
|Year||Team||Games||Combined Tackles||Tackles||Assisted Tackles||Sacks||Forced Fumbles||Fumble Recoveries|
In the fall of 2010, Ekuban assisted the football staff at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado as an assistant coach. He also was hired by the Denver Broncos to serve in their player development department.
- ESPN - Cowboys 31, Broncos 20 - NFL Football Recap
- "Ebenezer Ekuban Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Taking a Knee with 303: Interview with Drew Karpyshyn