Keith Jennings (American football)

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Keith Jennings
No. 84, 85
Position:Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1966-05-19) May 19, 1966 (age 53)
Summerville, South Carolina
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:262 lb (119 kg)
Career information
High school:Summerville
(Summerville, South Carolina)
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:92
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Keith O'Neal Jennings (born May 19, 1966) is a former American football tight end in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears. He played college football at Clemson University.

Early years[edit]

Jennings attended Summerville High School, where he was a high school All-American and an All-State wide receiver, while helping his team win 3 Division I-AAAA state championships. He posted 85 receptions for 1,760 yards (20.7 avg.) and 17 touchdowns in his final two seasons.

He also was an All-state first baseman, contributing to the school winning 2 state titles.

College career[edit]

Jennings accepted a football scholarship from Clemson University. As a freshman, he was a backup wide receiver and his best game came in the 1985 Independence Bowl against the University of Minnesota, where he had 3 receptions for 41 yards, including his first career touchdown.

He became a starter as a junior and was considered at the time the biggest wide receiver in school history. Playing in run-oriented offenses, he excelled at blocking, after the game against the University of Maryland head coach Danny Ford said "Keith is the best blocking wide receiver I've ever seen". He registered 31 receptions (second on the team) for 475 yards. His best regular season game came against North Carolina State University, when he had 6 receptions for 84 yards. In the 1988 Florida Citrus Bowl, he posted 7 receptions for a school-bowl record 110 yards against Penn State University. The 7 receptions were the most by a Tiger player since 1981.

As a senior, he posted 30 receptions (led the team) for 397 yards and one touchdown, while helping his team win a third straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

He finished his career with 78 receptions (eighth in school history) for 1,117 yards (ninth in school history) and 2 touchdowns. During his time in college, his teams had a 34-12-2 record and appeared in 4 bowl games.

Professional career[edit]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

Jennings was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round (113th overall) of the 1989 NFL Draft, with the intention of converting him into a tight end, even though he didn't have any previous experience at that position. He was released on September 4 and signed to the team's practice squad.[1]

He was promoted to the active roster before the seventh game and went on to appear in 10 games. He played mainly on special teams and as a second tight end in short yardage situations. Against the Green Bay Packers he had 4 receptions for 37 yards. He was waived injured on September 2, 1990.[2]

Denver Broncos[edit]

On July 3, 1991, he was signed as a free agent by the Denver Broncos.[3] He was released on August 26, 1991.[4]

Montreal Machine (WLAF)[edit]

In 1991, he signed with the Montreal Machine of the World League of American Football.[5] He was a backup tight end behind K. D. Dunn, tallying 4 receptions for 54 yards and one touchdown.

Chicago Bears[edit]

On October 18, 1991, Jennings was signed as a free agent to replace Cap Boso who had suffered a career-ending knee injury. With the Chicago Bears he developed into a blocking tight end and by his second season, he was named the starter in place of James Thornton, who was placed on the injured reserve list.

He was released on August 28, 1994 and later re-signed on October 24, after starter Chris Gedney was lost for the season.[6]

In 1995, he recorded the most touchdowns by a Bears tight end (6) since Mike Ditka's finished with 8 in 1963. The following season, he was placed on the injured reserve list with a broken left leg, after the sixth game of the season. He was waived injured on December 10, 1997.[7]

Detroit Lions[edit]

On August 4, 1998, he signed with the Detroit Lions,[8] before being waived on August 30.[9]

Las Vegas Outlaws (XFL)[edit]

With the Las Vegas Outlaws, he served as a reserve tight end during the 2001 season.[10]

Personal life[edit]

His older brother Stanford Jennings played running back for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. In 2017, Jennings was an undergraduate tight ends coach under Dabo Swinney at Clemson University. In 2017, he also served as a scouting intern with the Buffalo Bills during training camp. On June 11, 2018, he was hired as the Bills BLESTO college scout. He is the father of Kylie O’Neal Jennings.


  1. ^ "Aikman, Dallas `Silent' About Saints". Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  2. ^ "Dallas Down To Final 47 Shepard, Flagler Cut". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  3. ^ "Wednesday's Moves". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  4. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  5. ^ "WLAF". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  6. ^ "Gedney Out For The Season". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  7. ^ "Jennings On Way Out". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  8. ^ "Lions sign veteran tight end Jennings". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  9. ^ "Vet Jennings among 7 cut by Lions to reach 53 goal". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "Former Bear Jennings Back Home --in Xfl". Retrieved February 19, 2018.

External links[edit]