Dwight Freeney

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Dwight Freeney
refer to caption
Freeney with the Indianapolis Colts
No. 93 Atlanta Falcons
Position: Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1980-02-19) February 19, 1980 (age 36)
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
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 7, 2016
Total tackles: 328
Sacks: 122.5
Forced fumbles: 47
Fumble recoveries: 4
Pass deflections: 16
Defensive touchdowns: 1
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Dwight Jason Freeney (born February 19, 1980) is an American football defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Syracuse, where he earned unanimous All-American honors, and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft. With the Colts, Freeney won Super Bowl XLI over the Chicago Bears. He also played for the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals.

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 holds the record for sacks at his high school and used to hold the record for most sacks in a high school career in the Connecticut record book. (Record now held by Mark Evanchick of Darien HS) Bloomfield High retired his No. 44 football jersey.[1] During his youth, Freeney idolized New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor.[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. His 40 yard time remains among the fastest ever recorded for 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 and not adjusting to his position-change well, Freeney struggled and finished the season with only five sacks and 12 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, when he tallied 19.5.

San Diego Chargers[edit]

On May 18, 2013, Freeney signed a two-year deal with the San Diego Chargers.[16] During the 2013 season Freeney suffered a season-ending injury and recorded a career low with 0.5 sacks.

In 2014, Freeney looked to bounce back from last year and did. Throughout the season Freeney was only used as a pass rush specialist coming out only on passing downs. Against the Seattle Seahawks Freeney sacked Russell Wilson, which contributed to a Chargers victory. The next week Freeney got a sack against the Buffalo Bills. Against the 49ers, Dwight Freeney and Ricardo Mathews sacked and forced a Colin Kaepernick fumble leading to a Chargers touchdown. The next week recorded one sack against Chase Daniel and the Chiefs. Freeney finished the season with 10 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and a pass deflect.

Arizona Cardinals[edit]

On October 12, 2015, Freeney signed a one-year, $870,000 deal with the Arizona Cardinals, with the incentive to receive a $200,000 bonus with four sacks and then would receive $100,000 for each sack thereafter, with a maximum of 12.[17]

Freeney was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 16, in which he had three sacks and a forced fumble, the first time he had three sacks in a game since 2006. Coincidentally, former Colts teammate Robert Mathis won AFC Defensive Player of the Week for the same week.[18] Freeney appeared in nine games during the 2015 season, totaling 8.0 sacks (leading the team) and 3 forced fumbles.

Atlanta Falcons[edit]

On August 2, 2016, Freeney signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons.[19]

Career statistics[edit]

Year Team GP COMB TOTAL AST SACK FF FR FR YDS TD INT IR YDS AVG IR LNG TD PD
2002 IND 16 41 40 1 13.0 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2003 IND 15 31 27 4 11.0 4 2 23 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
2004 IND 16 34 31 3 16.0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2005 IND 16 34 29 5 11.0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
2006 IND 16 29 26 3 5.5 4 0 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 0
2008 IND 15 28 24 4 10.5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 IND 14 24 19 5 13.5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2010 IND 16 25 21 4 10.0 4 0 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 0
2012 IND 14 12 10 2 5.0 1 0 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 0
2014 SD 16 10 6 4 3.5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2015 ARI 11 9 8 1 8.0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total Total 194 319 273 46 119.5 47 4 23 1 0 0 0 0 0 16

[20]

Personal life[edit]

On March 28, 2012, his financial advisor was arrested and charged with embezzling $2.2 million from Freeney.[21] In 2015, Freeney sued Bank of America for $20 million claiming he trusted the bank's wealth management division with the assets.[22]

Freeney utilized EVO Ultrafit to rehab a torn ligament in his ankle prior to Super Bowl XLIV. [23]

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. ^ http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/13871647/arizona-cardinals-add-pass-rusher-dwight-freeney
  18. ^ http://m.azcardinals.com/news-and-events/article-2/Dwight-Freeney-Earns-NFC-Honor/0f1905ef-5a61-4e61-a870-136ab0a2008f
  19. ^ "Falcons agree to terms with DE Dwight Freeney". AtlantaFalcons.com. August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Dwight Freeney". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "Lovers Swindle NFL All-Pro". Huffington Post. March 28, 2012. 
  22. ^ Gantt, Darin. "Dwight Freeney suing Bank of America for $20 million". NBC Sports. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  23. ^ http://www.phillymag.com/birds247/2012/07/31/kafkas-training-something-out-of-science-fiction/

External links[edit]