|Position:||Defensive end / Linebacker|
May 7, 1964|
Little Rock, Arkansas
|Height:||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight:||281 lb (127 kg)|
|High school:||Little Rock (AR) Hall|
|NFL Draft:||1986 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Leslie Claudis O'Neal (born May 7, 1964) is a former football defensive end who played 13 years in the National Football League (NFL). He spent the majority of his career with the San Diego Chargers before finishing with the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs. He was a three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl selection during his pro career.
O'Neal was a two-time All-American playing college football with the Oklahoma State Cowboys. He joined the Chargers after they selected him in the first round with the eight overall pick in the 1986 NFL draft. He was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, but suffered a major knee injury at the end of his first season. He returned within two years, and finished his career as the Chargers all-time leader in sacks. As of 2013, he ranked 10th all-time in NFL history in sacks.
O'Neal played college football for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and twice earned All-American honors. He was a Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year, and earned All-Big Eight honors for three consecutive years. He finished his Cowboys career ranked fifth all-time in tackles with 351.
O'Neal was chosen in the first round with the eight overall pick in the 1986 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. He was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1986 after recording 12 1⁄2 sacks for the season, including a team-record five on November 16 against the Dallas Cowboys. However, his season ended prematurely due to a knee injury that sidelined him for almost two seasons.
He returned during the 1988 season on October 16, and returned to his dominant form the following season, when he again had 12 1⁄2 sacks, and was rewarded with the first of six Pro Bowl selections. O'Neal led the Chargers in sacks every season from 1990 through 1995. In 1992, he led the AFC with a career-high 17 sacks. He played his final four seasons with the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.
He finished his Chargers career as the team's all-time leader in sacks (105 1⁄2). He was named to the Chargers 40th and 50th anniversary teams, and was inducted to the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame as well as the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. Through the 2013 season, he ranked 10th all-time in the NFL in sacks with (132 1⁄2), tied with Lawrence Taylor when excluding the 9.5 sacks the latter accumulated in his rookie season due to not being an official statistic that time.
- Williams, Eric D. (September 2, 2014). "DE O'Neal headed to Chargers Hall of Fame". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014.
- "Leslie O'Neal". oksportshof.org. Archived from the original on September 8, 2014.
- Carlson, Jenni (January 16, 2014). "Pro Football Hall of Fame needs to take a good look at former Oklahoma State star Leslie O'Neal". The Oklahoman. Archived from the original on September 8, 2014.
- Career statistics and player information from Pro-Football-Reference