Darren Hambrick

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Darren Hambrick
No. 54, 56
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1975-08-30) August 30, 1975 (age 41)
Place of birth: Lacoochee, Florida
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 227 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school: Pasco (FL)
College: South Carolina
NFL Draft: 1998 / Round: 5 / Pick: 130
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Roster status: Retired
Career highlights and awards
  • Honorable-mention All-SEC (1996)
  • Pasco County Athlete of the Decade
  • Best football player in Pasco County history
Career NFL statistics
Tackles: 283
Sacks: 3.5
Interceptions: 3
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Darren Hambrick (born August 30, 1975) is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns. He played college football at the University of Florida, before transferring to the University of South Carolina.

Early years[edit]

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.[1]

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.[2]

He transferred to the University of South Carolina and was named honorable-mention 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.

Professional career[edit]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

Hambrick was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round (130th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft, dropping after being out of football for a 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

In Dallas he is best known for replying "What do voluntary mean?" when asked why he did not report to offseason workouts in 2001.[6] His quote is often referenced in jest by the Dallas sports media.[7][8]

Carolina Panthers[edit]

On October 24, 2001, he was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers, starting in eight of nine games and leading the team in tackles twice.[9] During his tenure with the team, he reported as stolen a paycheck from the Panthers he had already cashed.[10] At the end of the season, he wasn't re-signed.

Cleveland Browns[edit]

He signed with the Cleveland Browns for the 2002 season to replace Jamir Miller at strongside linebacker, starting 15 games and helping the team reach the playoffs.[11]

Although he was arrested on a grand theft charge,[12] 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[edit]

In 2007, he was signed to the practice squad of the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League, but was waived on June 6.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Hambrick is the brother of former NFL running back Troy Hambrick and is also related to former Major League Pitcher Mudcat Grant.

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.[14]


  1. ^ "Hambrick may lose starting job in Dallas". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  2. ^ "2 Gators Suspended After Fight Hambrick". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Cowboys linebacker jailed in Florida". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Hambrick a no-show". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Cowboys Release 2 Defenders". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Darren Hambrick". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  7. ^ "What Do "Voluntary" Mean? It Means Dallas Wants Us to Cut Back on Yard Watering". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Cowboys Probably Won't Win Salary-Cap Grievance, But They Should". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Panthers sign Darren Hambrick". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Former NFL linebacker Darren Hambrick behind bars". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Darren Hambrick lands in Cleveland". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Browns' Hambrick arrested on grand theft charge". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Tampa Bay Storm Transactions". Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  14. ^ Sullivan, Erin. "Former NFL player Darren Hambrick in Pasco jail on probation violation". St. Petersburg Times. 

External links[edit]