Detroit Lions: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time
By Brad Weiss
The Cleveland Browns made a big mistake when they cut their fifth-round pick back in 1959, as he was picked up as a free agent by the Lions. That player was Dick LeBeau, who would go on to become a Pro Football Hall of Fame player for the Lions. He is the best free-agent pickup in team history.
LeBeau played his entire career for the Lions, a career that spanned 14 seasons, and was one of the more prolific in team history. Still the franchise’s all-time leader in interceptions, LeBeau was an absolute ball hawk from his cornerback position, and it netted him three Pro Bowl nods.
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In addition to the three Pro Bowls, LeBeau was three times a Second-Team All-Pro. He eventually was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in 2010, alongside Denver Broncos running back Floyd Little.
For LeBeau, he went on to become one of the greatest defensive backs in team history. He teamed up with Dick “Night Train” Lane to give the Lions a punishing tandem in the defensive backfield.
In the history of the NFL, LeBeau’s 62 interceptions still rank seventh overall. He has since gone on to be one of the better coaches in NFL history as well.
A two-time Super Bowl winner as the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, LeBeau was inducted into the Pride of Lions Hall of Fame in 2010.
LeBeau proved to not only be an incredible talented player for the Lions, but also incredibly durable, as he played in 185 games during his Pro Football Hall of Fame career. There have been some special free agents in team history, but LeBeau is without question No. 1.