Whitehead with the Lions in 2014
|No. 59 – Detroit Lions|
|Date of birth:||April 2, 1990|
|Place of birth:||Jersey City, New Jersey|
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||241 lb (109 kg)|
|High school:||Newark (NJ) West Side|
|NFL Draft:||2012 / Round: 5 / Pick: 138|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 4, 2017|
Tahir Ali Whitehead (born April 2, 1990) is an American football linebacker for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Temple University. He was selected by the Lions in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Whitehead played four years for Temple from 2008 through 2011. After primarily playing on special teams as a freshman and sophomore, Whitehead carved out a starting role in the 2010 season and finished sixth on an 8-4 Temple team with 56 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for a loss. As a senior in 2011, Whitehead had 70 tackles, five sacks, and 13.5 tackles-for-loss for a Temple team that went 9-4 and won a bowl game for the first time since 1979. Whitehead was named a Second Team All-MAC selection following the season.
Following his collegiate career, Whitehead was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Whitehead was one of three Temple players drafted that year, joining Bernard Pierce and Evan Rodriguez.
Similar to how his collegiate career began, Whitehead spent his first two seasons with the Lions primarily playing on special teams. Whitehead finally cracked the regular linebacker rotation in 2014 and on October 11, 2014, tallied his first two interceptions against the Minnesota Vikings' rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Whitehead would finish the 2014 season with 86 tackles, two interceptions and five pass deflections.
During the 2015 season, Whitehead finished the season with a combined 50 tackles (39 solo), a career-high two sacks, one interception, one fumble recovery and a career-high six pass defenses.
Whitehead had a breakout 2016 season and finished with a career-high 132 tackles, a total that was the ninth most in the NFL.
- Stanmyre, Matthew. "NFL Draft 2012: Detroit Lions select Newark native Tahir Whitehead in fifth round", The Star-Ledger, April 28, 2012. Accessed June 11, 2012. "They informed Whitehead, a 2008 graduate of Newark’s West Side High School, they had selected him with their fifth-round pick — the 138th overall — of the 2012 NFL draft."
- "Lions re-sign LB Tahir Whitehead". Detroit Lions. March 11, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
- Rothstein, Michael (March 11, 2016). "Breaking down Tahir Whitehead's contract with the Lions". ESPN. Retrieved March 11, 2016.