Kenneth Gant

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Kenneth Gant
No. 29
Personal information
Date of birth: (1967-04-18) April 18, 1967 (age 47)
Place of birth: Bartow, Florida
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 187 lb (85 kg)
Career information
High school: Lakeland (FL) Kathleen
College: Albany State (GA)
NFL Draft: 1990 / Round: 9 / Pick: 221
Debuted in 1990 for the Dallas Cowboys
Last played in 1997 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Career history
*Inactive and/or offseason member only
Roster status: Retired
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games 113
Interceptions 7
Stats at
Stats at
Stats at

Kenneth Dwayne Gant (born April 18, 1967)[1] is a retired American professional football athlete. He played the safety position while in the National Football League teams Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His nickname with the Cowboys was "The Shark". On the field, Gant had most of his impact on special teams, however, Cowboys fans remember him mostly for his celebratory antics called "The Shark Dance".

Early life[edit]

Gant was born in Bartow and attended Kathleen High School in Lakeland, Florida. He received a scholarship to play college football at Albany State University, where although he came in as an offensive player, he was converted to the defensive side and became a four-year starter at cornerback.[2]

As a junior he recorded 55 tackles, 3 sacks and 6 passes defensed. He registered 5 interceptions as a senior and finished his college career with 14 interceptions and 15 passes defensed.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

Gant was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 9th round of the 1990 NFL draft. During training camp he was tried at cornerback, but the team eventually moved him to safety. As a rookie, he quickly became one of the best players in the special teams unit.

In 1991, from his gunner position, he led the Cowboys special teams with 25 tackles. By 1992 he was a key part of the team's nickel defense, that led the NFL in preventing third-down conversions, allowing opponents a conversion rate of 27.2 percent. He also finished with 9 quarterback pressures, tied for the team lead in interceptions (3) and led all reserve players in total tackles (54). Gant was a member of the Cowboys Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII championship teams. He is considered to be one of the best special teams players in franchise history.

Gant was nicknamed "The Shark" because during the 1992 season, before every kickoff and after making big plays, he would perform a celebratory dance dubbed "The Shark Dance". Typically, he would strut around, flapping his elbows while holding his hand over his head to simulate a shark's dorsal fin, a move that he learned from teammate Kevin Smith, who called it "the Shark Fin" from his days at Texas A&M University, where defensive backs used it to celebrate.[4]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

In 1995 he signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were looking to improve their special teams and nickel defense. He was waived on November 28, 1997.[5]

Gant finished his career after three seasons with the Buccaneers, he ranked second on the team in special teams tackles (11) in 1995 and third (11) in 1996.

Personal life[edit]

He was married and has two children.[6] He resided in Tampa, Florida, where he worked at a warehouse.[6]


  1. ^ "Kenneth Gant". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  2. ^ Ellis, Jennifer (20 September 1995). "Football player stresses hard work". The Ledger. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Associated Press (24 April 1990). "Cowboys Shore-Up Defensive Corps". The Victoria Advocate. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  4. ^ MONKOVIC, Toni (18 September 2008). "‘Boys Will Be Boys,’ an Excerpt". The Fifth Down. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  5. ^ New York Times Staff (29 November 1997). "Transactions". New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Mullenax, Steven (30 August 2011). "Whatever happened to the dancing Kenny "The Shark" Gant?". The Landry Hat. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 

External links[edit]