Casillas with a fan prior to a Cowboys home game in 2011.
|No. 75, 92|
|Born:||October 26, 1963|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||278 lb (126 kg)|
|High school:||Tulsa (OK) East Central|
|NFL Draft:||1986 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Tony Steven Casillas (born October 26, 1963) is a former American football defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) from 1986 through 1997. While at the University of Oklahoma he helped win the 1985 NCAA National Championship. He also won the Lombardi Award in 1985 and was the 1985 UPI Lineman of the Year. Casillas was also part of the Dallas Cowboys back to back victories in Super Bowl XXVII and XXVIII, both against the Buffalo Bills. In 2004, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
He had a difficult start to his college football career. As a redshirt freshman he suffered an ankle injury, contracted mononucleosis and was lost for the entire season. The next year, he played sparingly at defensive tackle, registering only 10 tackles.
In 1985, he became only the second Sooner ever to win the Lombardi Award, which is given to the nation’s top lineman. He was named the UPI Lineman of the Year, the Big Eight Conference defensive player of the year, a consensus first team All-American and first team All-Conference. He ended his college career with 18 sacks and 213 career tackles in addition to graduating with Academic All-American honors in 1985, and a degree in public relations.
Casillas was selected second overall in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. The team was switching to a 3-4 defense, so they needed him to be their nose tackle, he responded by becoming a starter as a rookie and making 111 tackles and a sack. He also made the league's all-rookie team. The next year, he suffered a stress fracture of his left fibula and was placed on the injured reserve list.
In the strike-shortened 1987 season, he played just nine games and had 72 tackles.
During the 1988 preseason, he left camp for three weeks to get guidance from a psychologist, suffering he said, from the stress of playing in professional football. He returned to the team with a new attitude and in time to start the regular season, where he made 111 tackles and was named a Pro Bowl alternate.
He exploded in 1989, becoming one of the best players at his position in the league with 152 tackles (still a team record for a defensive lineman) and was named second-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowl alternate.
In 1990, he held out in a contract dispute from head coach Jerry Glanville's first Falcons training camp, causing him to lose his starting job to rookie Tory Epps. The problems escalated from there on, he eventually missed a 44-24 loss to the Los Angeles Rams after failing to catch the team flight. The Falcons suspended him for two weeks without pay. Between injuries and discipline incidents, he only played in nine games as a backup.
At the start of the 1991 season, he announced he was retiring, so the Falcons traded him to the Dallas Cowboys for second, and eighth round draft choices in the 1992 NFL Draft. During his five-year span in Atlanta, Casillas had 478 tackles, the most ever by any Falcons defensive lineman and fourth best overall in franchise history.
Dallas Cowboys (first stint)
The Dallas Cowboys welcomed Casillas to training camp with the news that he would play left tackle in a 4-3 defense where the No. 1 overall draft pick Russell Maryland was also going to play. He eventually won the starting spot and became part of the best defense and the best defensive-line rotation in the NFL.
His career was revived in Dallas as a specialist at stopping the run. He also was a part of back to back victories in Super Bowl XXVII and XXVIII against the Buffalo Bills two years in a row. Casillas left the team via free agency to join the Kansas City Chiefs for the 1994 season.
Kansas City Chiefs
On the eve of training camp, he told coach Marty Schottenheimer he was concerned about his health. Eventually, the Chiefs released him, forcing him to return his signing bonus. Their general manager, Carl Peterson, asked the league to investigate whether the Cowboys had tampered, after the Cowboys hired Barry Switzer (Casillas's former coach at the Oklahoma).
New York Jets
In 1994, he signed with the New York Jets after a bizarre spring and summer in which he practiced only sporadically in minicamp with the Chiefs and was eventually released by the team. In the two years he spent with the team, he dealt with injuries that caused him to only start 16 games. He was waived on March 2, 1996.
Dallas Cowboys (second stint)
Casillas rejoined the Dallas Cowboys in a reserve role for the 1996 season, which was the only season in his career where he failed to record a sack. In 1997, he started 14 games in place of a suspended Leon Lett, matching his career high total of 3 sacks. He retired from professional football on February 25, 1998, after playing in the NFL for 12 seasons.
Casillas was the host of "Casillas & Company"/"Casillas & Zack," a sports talk show on Oklahoma City radio station 107.7 The Franchise KRXO from August 2013 until his departure from the station in November 2014.
- "Improving Casillas "10 Times Better'". 30 August 1984.
- "Casillas shares memories -- 'Oklahoma will always be special'". 11 September 2008.
- Press, Associated (24 December 1989). "Big 8 Honors Casillas and Sanders as Conference Players of Decade" – via LA Times.
- "Former Cowboys lead Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame class". 14 May 2008.
- "Life in NFL Proves Trying for Ex-Sooners". 27 July 1988.
- WOJCIECHOWSKI, GENE (7 October 1989). "CALM STORM : Successful Therapy Lets Falcons' Tony Casillas Cause Stress for Foes" – via LA Times.
- "It's Money Or Nothing for Falcons' Casillas". 9 August 1990.
- "Casillas Is Back With Falcons". 23 October 1990.
- "Ex-Sooner Casillas Says He's Retiring". 21 July 1991.
- "Cowboys Deal For Casillas". 22 July 1991.
- Press, From Associated (23 July 1991). "Cowboys Glad to Have Casillas Aboard" – via LA Times.
- "Casillas on Way Out? Chiefs DT May Retire for Health Reasons". 29 July 1994.
- Eskenazi, Gerald. "PRO FOOTBALL; Jets' Casillas Seems to Be in Right Frame of Mind".
- Eskenazi, Gerald. "PRO FOOTBALL; Jets Sign Casillas, Plus His Baggage".
- "Casillas Due for Back Surgery Jets Tackle to Be Sidelined for 8 Weeks". 30 July 1995.
- "Casillas, Switzer Enjoy Unique Bond". 15 August 1996.
- Press, The Associated. "PLUS: FOOTBALL -- DALLAS; Wilson Is Released; Casillas Retires".
- Bracht, Mel (August 24, 2013). "Media notebook: Tyler Media announces lineup for 107.7 The Franchise". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, OK. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Riley, Patrick (November 20, 2013). "Tony Casillas is finally out at 107.7 The Franchise..." The Lost Ogle. Oklahoma City, OK. Retrieved March 26, 2015.