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Reggie White Biography

One of the most dominating defensive lineman in college and pro football history, was Reggie White, nicknamed "The Minister of Defense", for his play on the field, as well as being an ordained Evangelical minister.

A native of Chattanooga, White graduated from Howard High School where he was named All-State in basketball, and All-America in both basketball and football. He was named two-sport player of the year with Patrick Ewing the first runner-up.

Arriving in Knoxville in 1980, White began to leave his mark on the SEC. In 1981, he was chosen as the Vols Outstanding Lineman and the Andy Spiva Award as the Most Improved Defensive Player.

He was named captain in his senior season in 1983, which saw him finish with 15 sacks, and a career best of 32, which is still a record at the University of Tennessee. He has set records for sacks in a career, a single-season and a game.

He was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, consensus All-SEC and All-America, the Atlanta Touchdown Club's Player of the Year, Birmingham Touchdown Club's Outstanding Lineman and Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club's Outstanding Senior. He also was one of four finalists for the Lombardi Award given to the nation's outstanding lineman. He was named to the all-time Tennessee team, the SEC team of the 1980's, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Hall of Fame, and was also inducted in his first year of eligibility into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Reggie White Biography
Pro Football Hall of Fame Reggie White.
Thanks to CoincidenceUNO at flickr.com for the picture.

The University of Tennessee retired White's jersey at a halftime presentation in 2005.

White was on the field the year Tennessee finally ended a long losing streak against Alabama in 1982. In a wild shootout, Bama was driving for a possible winning TD with 17 seconds to play. On fourth down, QB Walter Lewis threw into the end zone and Mike Terry intercepted the tipped pass. After the game, Terry told the press, “I was lying on the ground, and suddenly I had Reggie White all over me, laughing and grinning in my face, telling me we had won…”

White left Tennessee to go into the pros, but not the NFL as he was chosen by the Memphis Showboats of the new U.S.F.L. He shined in the new league by registering 11 sacks in his first season, and was named to the all-rookie team. In 34 starts he registered 23.5 sacks, 192 tackles (120 unassisted) and forced 7 fumbles.

After the demise of the U.S.F.L., White came to Philadelphia in 1985 and was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

In eight years with the Eagles, he finished with more sacks (124) than games played (121). He is the only player in N.F.L. history to have done that. His sack total ranks first for the Eagles with 124.

He had his jersey retired by the Eagles in 2005.

In 1993, White became a free agent and was signed by the Green Bay Packers. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Year a record 3 times and selected to a record 14 consecutive Pro Bowls.

Reggie White Biography
Go Pack!!! Forever the Minister of Defense - Reggie White!
Thanks to uacheesehead at flickr.com for the picture.

The two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 13-time Pro Bowl and 12-time All-Pro selection was selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. In his final season with the Packers he finished second in the NFL with 16 sacks and was selected for the seventh time in the Associated Press All-Pro team.

The Packers retired his jersey in 2005.

After retiring from the Packers, White came back to the N.F.L. in 2000 to play with the Carolina Panthers for one season before calling it quits for good.

Unfortunately, White would leave the world way before his time. In December of 2004, he was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead of a fatal cardiac arrhythmia. White also suffered from sleep apnea, which may have contributed to his death.

White was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, two years after his death.

We have named Reggie White to our SEC All-Time All-Star Football Team. To learn more about our current Tennessee Football, check out Tennessee Volunteers Football page. You can also read more about the Tennessee Volunteers Football History.

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