Tamba Hali

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Tamba Hali
refer to caption
Hali with the Kansas City Chiefs
Free agent
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1983-11-03) November 3, 1983 (age 34)
Gbarnga, Liberia
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 275 lb (125 kg)
Career information
High school: Teaneck (NJ)
College: Penn State
NFL Draft: 2006 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2017
Total tackles: 591
Sacks: 89.5
Forced fumbles: 32
Fumble recoveries: 8
Interceptions: 2
Defensive touchdowns: 2
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Tamba Boimah Hali (born November 3, 1983) is a Liberian-born American football linebacker who is a free agent. He played college football at Penn State, where he earned All-American honors, and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft.

Early years[edit]

Hali was born in Gbarnga, Liberia. He was sent to the United States at the age of 10 to escape civil war-torn Liberia; there he joined his father Henry Hali, a chemistry professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University who also taught the subject at Teaneck High School. He worked to become an NFL-caliber player because he thought it would help him raise the money to reunite with his mother, Rachel Keita, and bring her to the United States after not having seen her for more than twelve years.

Hali attended Teaneck High School in Teaneck, New Jersey, where he played for the high school football team. He was named a high school All-American. He also lettered in basketball.[1]

Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Hali was listed as the No. 5 strongside defensive end in the nation in 2002.[2]

College career[edit]

Hali received an athletic scholarship to attend Pennsylvania State University, where he played for coach Joe Paterno's Penn State Nittany Lions football team from 2002 to 2005. Following his senior season in 2005, was recognized as a unanimous All-American, the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, and a first-team All-Big Ten selection. He was instrumental in helping the Nittany Lions finish 11–1, winning the Big Ten championship and the Orange Bowl that season.

He led the Big Ten with 11 sacks (tied for eighth nationally) and 17 tackles for loss and earned numerous accolades for his play. He was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, presented to the nation's top defensive player, and the Ted Hendricks Defensive End Award.

Hali's season sack total is tied for sixth-best at Penn State and his 36 career tackles for loss are tied with Matt Millen for tenth best. Hali received the Robert B. Mitinger Award, which is given to the Nittany Lion football player who best personifies courage, character, and social responsibility.

Hali was named defensive most valuable player (MVP) of the 2006 Senior Bowl.

Professional career[edit]

Hali entered the 2006 NFL Draft ranked as the #3 defensive end behind Mario Williams and Kamerion Wimbley. Tamba spent some time as a defensive tackle in college.

There was not much pre-draft hype for Hali heading into the 2006 NFL Draft until The Sporting News made his amazing story of escape from war-torn Liberia at age 10 their April 21, 2006 cover story.[3] NFL scouts began to take notice, reporting that Hali presented himself in an excellent manner not only in his workout but also in his interview at the NFL Combine. Hali was chosen 20th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in a surprise move. Hali was projected by many analysts to be selected later in the draft, but Kansas City did not hesitate to select the best player possible to help their struggling defense.

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 3 in
(1.91 m)
275 lb
(125 kg)
4.75 s 4.31 s 7.28 s 30 in
(0.76 m)
8 ft 10 in
(2.69 m)
18 reps 17
All values from Penn State Pro Day, except measurables and Wonderlic (NFL Combine)[4]

2006 season[edit]

Making an early impression in Chiefs camp, Tamba Hali has earned the nickname of "The TambaHawk" (a take on "Tomahawk"), and the starting position for defensive end.

On July 31, 2006, Hali was excused from the Chiefs two-a-day practices at training camp in River Falls, Wisconsin and flew back to his home in Teaneck, New Jersey to be sworn in as a permanent citizen of the United States.[5] On September 28, 2006, Hali's mother Rachel arrived in Kansas City, Missouri and currently lives with Tamba on a one-year visa. On October 1, she saw her son play for the first time as the Chiefs shut out the San Francisco 49ers, 41–0.[6]

Hali won the Mack Lee Hill award as the top Chiefs rookie for 2006.[7] At the end of the 2006 NFL season, Hali led the Chiefs with 8 sacks, 3.5 more than no. 1 overall draft pick Mario Williams.


Hali (#91) playing agains the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card game.

In 2007, Hali had 7.5 sacks. Hali moved to right defensive end for the 2008 season, replacing Jared Allen. In 2009, Hali was again moved—this time to outside linebacker—to accommodate new head coach Todd Haley's 3–4 defense. Hali's transformation from an undersized 4–3 DE to a 3–4 OLB was an amazing one considering his time in college as a defensive tackle.

In 2010, the Chiefs hired a new defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel. Hali finished the season with an AFC-leading 14.5 sacks, leading to his first invitation to the Pro Bowl, which he declined citing personal reasons. Chiefs' general manager Scott Pioli made the signing of Hali to a long-term deal his top priority that off-season. Despite a lockout being in place, the two sides signed a five-year, $60 million contract ($35 million guaranteed) on August 4, 2011.[8]


Hali repaid this loyalty with an All-Pro season, racking up a career-high 83 tackles and leading the team in sacks (12) for the fifth time in his six seasons as a Chief.[9] He was named an All-Pro and selected to play in the 2012 Pro Bowl.[10] Hali started all 16 games in 2011 and finished second in sacks in the AFC. He tied for third in the conference with four forced fumbles, a team-best 12 tackles for loss, and 31 quarterback pressures.[10] Hali moved into fourth place on the Chiefs' career sacks list that season.[10]

On August 20, 2012, the NFL suspended Hali for one game for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy.[11] On December 26, 2012, Hali was announced the starting outside linebacker for the AFC in the 2013 Pro Bowl.

In the 2013 season, Hali would start in 15 games in 15 appearances. He had 46 tackles, of which 39 were solo. He had 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, and one interception. In the 2014 season, Hali started in all 16 games. He had 59 tackles, of which 47 were solo, six sacks, and three forced fumbles.

On March 8, 2015, Hali restructured his contract to free up $3 million in cap space to stay with the Chiefs. Throughout the off-season, it was believed Hali would be released.[12] Hali made the Pro Bowl for the fifth consecutive year and was ranked 84th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.[13] On March 8, 2016, Hali signed a three-year contract to stay with the Chiefs.[14]

2017 season[edit]

In 2017, Hali started the 2017 season on the physically unable to perform list due to an undisclosed injury that kept him out all of training camp and the preseason.[15] He began practicing again on November 2. The Chiefs had 21 days from the day he starts practicing to either activate him or place him on injured reserve.[16] He was moved to the active roster on November 4, 2017, prior to the team's Week 9 game against the Dallas Cowboys.[17]

On March 12, 2018, Hali was released by the Chiefs after 12 seasons.[18] Only Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas has more career sacks with the Chiefs.[19]

Career statistics[edit]

Source: NFL.com

Year Team Games Tackles Fumbles Int
G GS Comb Total Ast Sack FF FR Yds Int PD
2006 KC 16 16 58 41 17 8.0 5 1 0 1 4
2007 KC 16 16 58 46 12 7.5 2 0 0 0 2
2008 KC 15 15 54 43 11 3.0 3 1 0 0 2
2009 KC 16 16 62 46 16 8.5 4 0 0 0 1
2010 KC 16 16 51 36 15 14.5 4 2 2 0 3
2011 KC 16 16 66 48 18 12.0 4 0 0 0 0
2012 KC 15 15 54 43 11 9.0 1 0 0 0 2
2013 KC 15 15 46 39 7 11.0 5 2 11 1 1
2014 KC 16 16 59 47 12 6.0 3 1 0 0 0
2015 KC 15 14 45 36 9 6.5 2 0 0 0 0
2016 KC 16 2 34 24 10 3.5 0 1 0 0 0
2017 KC 5 0 1 1 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 175 158 588 453 135 89.5 33 8 13 2 16

Personal life[edit]

Hali has an older half-brother, also named Tamba. This stems from a tradition in the Kissi culture wherein the second son born to a woman is always named "Tamba".[citation needed]

On January 8, 2016, Hali's fiancé, Mary Glasgow, gave birth to their son, Tamba Hali II.[20]

In his spare time, Hali writes rap music; he records in a studio in his basement. On June 9, 2017, Hali released his single that was produced by Masterkraft, "The One For Me", on Apple Music.[21]

Hali became a U.S. citizen on July 31, 2006.[5] Following his rookie year, Hali began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under the instruction of Rener Gracie and was promoted to purple belt in November 2017.[22]


  1. ^ Tamba Hali player profile Archived December 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., National Football League Players Association. Accessed July 24, 2007. "Attended Teaneck High School in Teaneck, New Jersey. ... Named All-America by G&W."
  2. ^ "Tamba Hali - Yahoo! Sports". archive.is. 2015-03-08. Archived from the original on 2015-03-08. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  3. ^ "By the grace of God, I am alive" Archived September 10, 2006, at the Wayback Machine., The Sporting News, April 13, 2006
  4. ^ "Tamba Hali". NFL Draft Scout.com. March 25, 2009. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Chiefs rookie Hali becomes U.S. citizen", NFL.com, August 1, 2006
  6. ^ Chiefs defender Hali's mom finally sees him play Associated Press, 2 October 2006. Archived January 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Larry Johnson, Tamba Hali earn Chiefs awards"[permanent dead link], Daily Capital News/Post-Tribune via the Associated Press, January 12, 2007.
  8. ^ "Reluctant superstar: Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali getting job done, even if he does so quietly". The Washington Post. 2011-12-20.[dead link]
  9. ^ Looney, Josh (2012-01-06). "Johnson and Hali earn AP All-Pro honors". Kansas City Chiefs.
  10. ^ a b c "Two Chiefs Named to 2012 Pro Bowl Roster". Kansas City Chiefs. 2011-12-27.
  11. ^ Skretta, Dave (August 20, 2012). "NFL Suspends Chiefs LB Tamba Hali 1 Game". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  12. ^ "Chiefs' Tamba Hali agrees to restructure his contract". NFL.com.
  13. ^ "'Top 100 Players of 2016': No. 84 Tamba Hali". NFL.com. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  14. ^ "Tamba Hali, Chiefs agree to new 3-year deal". ESPN.com. March 8, 2016.
  15. ^ Sessler, Marc (September 2, 2017). "Chiefs keep Tamba Hali on PUP list to start season". NFL.com.
  16. ^ "Andy Reid Shares Thoughts on Tamba Hali's Return to Practice". ESPN.com.
  17. ^ "Chiefs add Tamba Hali to 53-man roster, cut D.J. White". USAToday.com. November 4, 2017.
  18. ^ Sessler, Marc (March 12, 2018). "Chiefs release Tamba Hali after 12 seasons". NFL.com.
  19. ^ "Tamba Hali released by Chiefs". USA TODAY. March 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  20. ^ "Tamba Hali’s wife gives birth to Tamba Hali II", ArrowheadAddict.com, January 8, 2016
  21. ^ "Kingdom Life: Tamba Hali Releases New Single", Chiefs.com, June 12, 2017
  22. ^ "EPisode 78 Tamba Hali, NFL Superstar and Gracie Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt". The Gracie Jiu Jitsu Rocks! Podcast. Retrieved 2017-11-04.

External links[edit]