10. Dick LeBeau DB, 1959-1972
The man who will likely go into the Hall of Fame as a coach with the Bengals and Steelers has already earned the honor as a defensive back with the Lions.
He was initially drafted in the fifth round in 1959 by the Cleveland Browns but was cut in training camp. A few months later, he was signed as a rookie free agent by the Detroit Lions. He played 14 years in Detroit and was teamed with Hall of Famers Dick “Night Train” Lane, Yale Lary, and Lem Barney as part of a Detroit secondary that was one of the most feared in the NFL. Johnny Unitas always had respect for him, stating, “Dick is a good corner. I am just glad Night Train Lane is gone.”
LeBeau is widely considered to be one of the greatest defensive backs in Detroit history. He recorded 62 interceptions for 762 yards and three touchdowns. His 62 interceptions are the most by a player in Lions’ history, and he is tied for seventh all-time in NFL history. His 762 interception return yards ranks third all-time in team history.
LeBeau was also one of the most durable players in the league. In 14 years, he played 185 games – placing him fourth on Detroit’s all-time list.
He is currently the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive coordinator and is considered to be one of the greatest defensive coordinators of all time. He has been active at field level in the NFL for 55 consecutive seasons–14 as a player with the Lions and 41 as a coach.
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