Kyle Turley

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Kyle Turley
No. 68, 74
Position: Offensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1975-09-24) September 24, 1975 (age 40)
Place of birth: Provo, Utah
Career information
High school: Moreno Valley (CA) Valley View
College: San Diego State
NFL draft: 1998 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 109
Games started: 107
Fumbles recovered: 8
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Kyle John Turley (born September 24, 1975) is a former American college and professional football player who was an offensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for ten seasons. He played college football at San Diego State, and was recognized as an All-American. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints seventh overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the Saints, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL. He was an All-Pro selection in 2000.

Turley currently works as a country music recording artist and is a prominent voice in debate over the effects of concussions on the post-career health of NFL players through Just Cool Me - T.K.O.

High school career[edit]

Turley attended Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, California.[1] He played defensive end during his only season of football as a senior in 1992,[2] earning first-team all-league honors[1] and attracting athletic scholarship offers from several universities seeking to recruit him.[2] Turley also played baseball[3] and was recognized with all-state honors as a wrestler.[1]

College career[edit]

Turley attended San Diego State University from 1993 to 1997. He played offensive line all four years of athletic competition at SDSU, after redshirting his first year in 1993.[2] Turley's most notable achievements came his final season in 1997, earning first-team All-American honors and being named a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy.[4] He was twice named first-team All-Western Athletic Conference and was inducted into the Aztec Hall of Fame in 2011.[4]

Professional career[edit]

New Orleans Saints[edit]

Turley was selected 7th overall by the New Orleans Saints in the 1998 NFL draft. Initially not projected as a high first round pick, Turley's draft stock rose dramatically after turning in a stellar 4.93 seconds for the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.[5] Turley's combine performance caught the eye of then-Saints coach Mike Ditka, and the team subsequently made him the first offensive linemen selected in the 1998 draft.[5] He signed a six-year contract on July 24, 1998.[1]

Turley played a total of five seasons for the Saints, making an immediate impact by starting 15 games his rookie season and earning all-rookie honors from Pro Football Weekly, Football News, and Football Digest.[1] A durable presence on the Saints offensive line, Turley missed only one game due to ankle injury during his five years in New Orleans.[6] Turley would prove to be a versatile player as well, starting mostly at left guard his rookie season, then moving to right tackle the next three seasons, and over to left tackle in 2002.[1] His strong play earned him first team All-Pro honors following the 2000 season[1] and an invitation to the Pro Bowl as a substitute following the 2001 season.[7] He would turn down the Pro Bowl invite to serve as grand marshall of the Endymion Parade during Mardi Gras however.[8]

During his time in New Orleans, Turley became a fan favorite for his spirited style of play and colorful personality.[7] His popularity especially took off after the infamous helmet tossing incident of 2001,[9] with many Saints fans lining up to buy his jersey afterwards.[7][10] Turley's antics were less well-received among team management however, particularly leading up to his March 2003 trade when Turley engaged in a public dispute with general manager Mickey Loomis.[11][12] Amongst players in the league, Turley came to be known by some as a dirty player due to his frequent use of cut blocks and ambushing of unsuspecting defenders.[7][13] Turley defended his use of the cut block, noting that it is a legal maneuver and that he is simply doing his job within the rules of the game.[13]

Turley's football career is perhaps most remembered for an on-field altercation that occurred in a game against the New York Jets on November 4, 2001. Trailing 16-9 in the final minute of the game, the Saints were driving deep into opposition territory with the ball at the 6-yard line on second-and-3.[14] After quarterback Aaron Brooks was tackled on a scramble to the 5-yard line, Jets safety Damien Robinson viciously grabbed his facemask and started to bend him backwards.[10] Turley stepped in and separated the two, then picked up Robinson by the facemask and threw him to the ground as referees and players from both teams tried to break up the scrum.[10] Turley emerged from the pile with Robinson's helmet in hand and proceeded to fling it across the field before making an obscene gesture.[14] Robinson and Turley received offsetting personal fouls for the initial incident, but Turley was assessed an additional personal foul and ejected from the game for the helmet toss and obscene gesture.[14] The penalty set the Saints back 15 yards and they ended up losing the game. Saints head coach Jim Haslett said he initially considered cutting Turley before seeing a clearer view of the incident on film and discussing it with quarterback Aaron Brooks, who thought his neck had been broken at the time.[14] Turley was subsequently fined $25,000 by the Saints organization and requested to attend counseling for management of anger issues.[15] Many Saints fans applauded Turley's actions however, setting up a "Kyle Turley Defense Fund" to assist in payment of the fine[16] and putting up "Turley for mayor" signs around the city.[3] The incident occurred during a nationally televised game and received a significant amount of media attention afterwards, putting Turley's name in the national spotlight for the first time.[10]

St. Louis Rams[edit]

Turley was traded to the St. Louis Rams on March 21, 2003, in exchange for a 2nd round pick in the 2004 draft.[17] He was immediately signed to a 5-year, $26.5 million extension (in addition to the one year remaining on his contract),[18] making Turley the fourth-highest paid offensive lineman in the league.[19] With future hall-of-famer Orlando Pace already entrenched at the starting left tackle position, Turley moved to the right side and started all 16 regular games plus the single playoff game of the Rams 2003 season.[1] He also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in December.[20]

Turley underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc in March 2004. He re-aggravated the injury during training camp and was placed on injured reserve on August 28, ending his season.[21] Turley ruled out a second surgery on his back and opted for a long rehabilitation instead, during which his weight dropped to 235 pounds from a normal playing weight of 309.[22] In December, he was involved in a heated exchange regarding the matter with head coach Mike Martz, after which Martz filed a complaint with NFL security.[23] No disciplinary action was taken as a result,[24] but Turley admitted that hard feelings lingered.[22] Turley also harbored feelings of resentment leading up to the incident, believing that the organization acted recklessly and carelessly in pushing him to return from back surgery too soon and advising him to play through initial onset of the injury during the 2003 season.[3][23] During his continued rehabilitation in 2005, Turley suggested he may switch to the defensive end position to lessen the load on his back.[22] He was released by the Rams on June 6, 2005, however, after failing a physical.[25] He ended up spending the entire 2004 and 2005 seasons out of football, continuing his recovery and training for a return in 2006.[3]

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

After a mini-camp tryout at tight end for the Miami Dolphins,[26] Turley signed a two-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs on June 13, 2006, where he would compete for a starting job at the right tackle position.[27] He started the first two games of the season, but returning back problems and a shoulder injury late in the season ended up limiting him to 7 starts in 7 games played.[1] He was also overpowered at times on the field due to playing below his normal weight from before his 2004 back surgery.[28]

Turley was released by the Chiefs in March 2007, but re-signed to a new one-year contract on July 26, 2007.[28] During the season he dealt with a number of health issues including hamstring,[29] ankle,[30] and back injuries,[31] starting only 5 games of 7 played in and ending the season on injured reserve.[32] He announced his retirement from football on December 21, 2007.[32]

Life after football[edit]


After retiring from football, Turley moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he set his sights on a music career. Turley started Gridiron Records with Tim Pickett. Other acts signed to Gridiron Records include Invitro, Unset, and The Hairbrain Scheme. Turley was influenced by Heavy Metal music. He loved Pantera and Slayer while growing up. Other musical influences are Johnny Cash and Hank III.[33]

His debut album, Anger Management, was released by Gridiron Records in 2010. It was co-produced by Turley and Brandon Epps, and includes songs about his football career. He explains that the style of music "power country" is a mix of all rock subgenres and country genres.[34] The track titled, "Anger Management," includes references to the helmet-throwing incident.[33] Anger Management received critical praise since debuting in the top 200 Country albums on iTunes.[35] Part of the proceeds from the album's sales go to the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund (a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, established to provide financial assistance to and coordinate social services for dire-need, retired NFL players).[36]

Turley toured with Hank III in early Spring of 2010 to support Turley's debut album, Anger Management. Turley has also appeared on Field and Stream's video series, "The Wild Life with Hank III."[37]

In September 2011 Turley launched his Gridiron Tail Gate Tour. Playing tail gates and local venues at numerous NFL and college football games, Turley is dedicating his tour to the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund. Gridiron Records announced that one hundred percent of online sales for his sophomore album single "Fortune and Pain" will go to the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund. Turley is also working with Chicago-based, charity-minded public relations strategist Christopher Foltz to raise awareness of both the Gridiron Greats and NFL injuries and post-career struggles for retirees.[38]


Turley has actively participated in several journalistic inquiries into the NFL's treatment of concussions, and, overall health of its current and former players. He is a part of the charitable group Just Cool Me's Concussion Program named T.K.O. - The Kyle (Turley) Objective. His experiences dealing with the ramifications of his own football-related injuries—specifically, concussions—were featured prominently in Malcolm Gladwell's October 2009 article in The New Yorker.[39] As a result of concussions accumulated throughout his football career (in and prior to the NFL), Turley has a seizure disorder.[40] Turley was also a participant in ESPN's investigation into the misuse of painkillers by former NFL players.[41]

Medical marijuana[edit]

Turley uses marijuana to treat the neurological problems that he suffers from post-NFL career. He credits cannabis with greatly improving his quality of life and even saving his life,[42] after previously relying on numerous psychiatric medications with side effects that he says almost drove him to suicide.[43] Turley has called on the NFL to conduct research on the neuroprotective benefits of marijuana[43] and founded the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition to advocate for the NFL to change its policy on marijuana.[44]


Turley criticized former San Diego State University football head coach Brady Hoke, for leaving Turley's alma mater only two seasons into a 5-year contract to accept the same—but much higher profile—job at the University of Michigan. Soon after Hoke left San Diego State in January 2011, Turley texted him, "I hope you lose every damn game."[45] The week of San Diego State's game against/in Michigan on September 24, Turley said that he was still angry at Hoke, and hoped that San Diego State would beat Michigan so that "karma plays its role."[46]


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  20. ^ "THIS ISSUE'S CONTENTS - December 08, 2003". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
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  30. ^ "2007 Week 15 Injury Report". Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
  31. ^ "2007 Week 14 Injury Report". Retrieved August 8, 2016. 
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  33. ^ a b Rose, Chris Former New Orleans Saint's Kyle Turley now a music man "", 9 October 2009.
  34. ^ Gridiron Records
  35. ^ Gridiron Records
  36. ^ Gridiron Greats
  37. ^ "The Wild Life with Hank III: Episode 1 | Field & Stream". 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  38. ^ "Two Time NFL All-Pro Turns Rock Star Philanthropist; Kyle Turley on Tour with a Purpose Christopher Foltz & Company | Christopher Foltz & Company | Public Relations Firm Chicago | Top Chicago Reputation Management Firm". 2011-09-10. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
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  40. ^ Breer, Albert (2013-04-08). "Concussion lawsuit: State of things entering Tuesday's hearing". National Football League. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
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  45. ^ "Hold onto your hat, Kyle Turley is upset with Brady Hoke". 2011-01-14. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  46. ^ [1] Archived October 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]