Detroit Lions: 30 greatest players in franchise history

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Dick LeBeau. 6. player. 50. . Defensive Back. (1959-1972)

Dick LeBeau is quite literally a football lifer. After spending 14 years as a hall of fame player with the Lions, LeBeau would go on to spend 45 years as a coach in the NFL which was punctuated with two Super Bowl wins as the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The first win was especially poetic because it came in Detroit, the only city that he played for as a professional. Super Bowl XL was held in Detroit’s own Ford Field. It served as a pseudo-homecoming event for both LeBeau and Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, who was a Detroit native.

As a player, Dick was what I Iike to call “Johnny on the Spot.” The former Ohio State Buckeye was almost always on time and ready to play. More often than not, he was a pure difference maker for his team.

He could always be counted on to consistently make a play that helped to put his team into a position to win. During all 14 years of his NFL playing career, Dick had at least three interceptions. He totaled 62 picks overall as the star defensive back for the Lions.

His 62 interceptions are not only a franchise record for the Detroit Lions franchise, but also good enough to place LeBeau squarely in the top-10 in the history of the NFL!

Glover Quin may currently have his 180+ game iron man streak of consecutive starts at safety, but LeBeau was the first to do it in the Motor City. His total of 171 straight starts was an NFL record for a cornerback until it was later broken by Ronde Barber of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

LeBeau’s sterling career also included three Pro Bowl trips. Even though he’s currently an octogenarian, his love for the game will never be extinguished.