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|Born:||February 3, 1976|
|High school:||South Panola|
|NFL Draft:||1997 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Dwayne Rudd (born February 3, 1976) is a retired American football linebacker who played in the National Football League. During his career he played for the Minnesota Vikings, the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rudd was a teammate of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend in both high school and college, at South Panola High School and the University of Alabama, respectively. Derek Pegues, a South Panola alum and an All-SEC Defensive Back for Mississippi State, is his cousin.
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Rudd's most infamous moment came in the 2002 season opener between the Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs. With less than 10 seconds left on the clock and the Browns clinging to a 39–37 lead, Chiefs quarterback Trent Green dropped back to pass. The entire Browns defensive line swarmed him, and it initially appeared that Rudd sacked Green as time expired. However, Green lateraled the ball to tackle John Tait just before he went down. Rudd did not see this happen. Believing that he had sacked Green to end the game, he took off his helmet and threw it in the air in celebration of an apparent Browns victory.
Tait ran to the Browns' 26-yard line where he was knocked out of bounds. That would have been the end of the game, but Rudd was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his premature helmet toss. Since football games by rule cannot end on a defensive penalty, the Chiefs got to run an untimed play. The ball was moved to the 13-yard line (half the distance to the goal from the end of the run). Chiefs kicker Morten Andersen booted a 30-yard field goal to win the game 40–39.
Rudd encountered a similar incident the next season in Tampa; as part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he saw his teammate Simeon Rice draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in a game against the Indianapolis Colts after a game-winning field goal attempt failed, giving the Colts another chance to win the game—being successful the second time.
Rudd holds the NFL record for most fumble return yards in a single season with 157, which he set in 1998. He also shares the NFL record (with many players) both for the most total fumble recoveries for touchdowns in a season and the most opponent fumble recoveries for touchdowns in a season, with two apiece.