Detroit Lions: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Detroit Lions. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Bennie Blades, Detroit Lions
29 Sep 1996: Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport /

29. player. 50. . Safety. (1988-1995). Bennie Blades

Next up is a former standout from “The U” (University of Miami Hurricanes), Horatio Benedict “Bennie” Blades. He was an absolute terror for whoever had the misfortune of lining up across from him. Blades was known to blanket the field with tough, physical coverage as he harassed anyone who dared to enter his vicinity with the ball.

1988’s third overall pick showcased himself to be an invaluable performer for the Lions over his years with the franchise. Blades was a member of the NFL’s All-Rookie team after his inaugural season. In his first two seasons alone, he totaled 100+ tackles each year.

The 6-foot, 220-pound player used every bit of his frame during his career, as he racked up 714 career tackles and 12 interceptions as a Lion. He also forced nine fumbles, had 11 fumble recoveries, one interception returned for a touchdown and a career-long interception return of 98 yards.

Out of 126 total games played in Honolulu blue and silver, Blades started in 125 of them. He was voted to the Pro Bowl after his fourth NFL season in 1991, along with five fellow Lions who were also voted to that year’s team (Barry Sanders, Mel Gray, Lomas Brown, Chris Spielman and Jerry Ball). Blades was deemed as the defense’s most valuable player in 1992, as he was a key cog for them as he chipped in 95 tackles.

In recognition for his contributions to the game of football, Bennie Blades was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.