Cornelius Bennett
No. 55, 97
Position:Linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1965-08-25) August 25, 1965 (age 58)
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High school:Ensley
(Birmingham, Alabama)
College:Alabama (1983–1986)
NFL draft:1987 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:206
Games started:204
Tackles:1,190
Sacks:71.5
Forced fumbles:31
Interceptions:7
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Cornelius O'Landa Bennett (born August 25, 1965) is an American former professional football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL). He played for the Buffalo Bills from 1987 to 1995, Atlanta Falcons from 1996 to 1998, and the Indianapolis Colts from 1999 to 2000. Bennett was a five-time Pro Bowler, being elected in 1988, and 19901993, and won the AFC Defensive Player of the Year award twice (1988 and 1991).

Early years

Bennett was born in Birmingham, Alabama.[1] He played halfback and several other positions while attending Ensley High School in Birmingham. Bennett was an excellent basketball and baseball player during his high school career. Bennett was an all-state performer for the football team his senior year, amassing over 1,000 yards on 101 rushes. Bennett was nicknamed "Biscuit" by friends because he always had room for one more.[2] [3]

College career

Bennett played for the University of Alabama from 1983 to 1986.[4] Bennett was a first selection on the College Football All-America Team three times (1984–1986). He is one of only two Alabama players to be named to three All-America teams, the other being fellow linebacker Woodrow Lowe. As a senior, he won the Lombardi Award, SEC Player of the Year honors, and finished 7th in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy.[5][6][7] In his four seasons at the University of Alabama, Bennett recorded 287 tackles, 21+12 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries. His most famous play was in 1986 when he leveled Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein, immortalized in a painting by artist Daniel Moore titled simply, ‘The Sack.’[8] In 2005, Bennett was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.[9]

Professional career

L. T.'s in a class all by himself. I'll put L. T. first, then Tippett, and Bennett behind him.

— Jets fullback Roger Vick, ranking the NFL's best pass rushers during the 1988 season.[10]

After his college career, Bennett was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the second pick of the 1987 NFL Draft.[11] The 1987 draft class was deemed the "Year of Linebacker", but Bennett was considered to stand "head-and-shoulders above the rest."[12] Bennett was Alabama's highest draft selection since quarterback Richard Todd went 6th overall in 1976.[13]

Bennett and the Colts were unable to come to an agreement on a contract. Bennett was then dealt to the Buffalo Bills from the Colts in a three-way trade that also included Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson and Bills running back Greg Bell. This trade occurred in the fall of the 1987 season, just before the trade deadline, and has been called "the trade of the decade" by The New York Times.[14]

In the NFL, Bennett's talent at the left outside linebacker position helped the teams he played for to five Super Bowl appearances (four with Buffalo and one with Atlanta), but they lost them all (an NFL record he shares with offensive lineman Glenn Parker[15]). In his 14 NFL seasons, he recorded 71+12 sacks, 7 interceptions, 31 forced fumbles, 27 fumble recoveries and three touchdowns (one interception, one fumble return, and one blocked field goal return).

At the time of his retirement, Bennett's 27 defensive fumble recoveries were the third most in NFL history.[citation needed]

Bennett was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.[16]

Bennett is a cousin of former New England Patriots defensive end, the late Marquise Hill.[17]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck TFL Int Yds TD PD FF FR
1987 BUF 8 7 69 8.5 5 0
1988 BUF 16 16 103 9.5 2 30 0 3 3
1989 BUF 12 12 54 5.5 2 5 0 1 2
1990 BUF 16 16 96 4.0 3 2
1991 BUF 16 16 107 9.0 4 2
1992 BUF 15 15 81 4.0 2 3
1993 BUF 16 16 102 5.0 1 5 0 2 2
1994 BUF 16 16 77 58 19 5.0 1 3
1995 BUF 14 14 104 81 23 2.0 1 69 1 1 2
1996 ATL 13 13 60 52 8 3.0 1 3 0 2 2
1997 ATL 16 16 90 68 22 7.0 2 1
1998 ATL 16 16 92 69 23 1.0 0 2
1999 IND 16 16 105 72 33 5.0 10 5 5 2
2000 IND 16 15 50 36 14 3.0 6 4 0 1
Career 206 204 1,190 436 142 71.5 16 7 119 1 9 31 27

Personal life

In May 1997,[18] Bennett committed "vicious acts"[19] during a sexual assault of a woman at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Buffalo. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail for sexual misconduct. He was also placed on three years' probation, fined $500, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, ordered to pay back $617 in medical bills for the woman,[20] and ordered to undergo anger-management and substance-abuse counseling.[21]

Bennett lives in Hollywood, Florida, with his second wife, Kimberly Bennett.[citation needed]

In May 2010, Bennett announced he will donate his brain for a CTE study, Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, of long-term brain injuries resulting from football-related injuries.[22]

References

  1. ^ Kausler Jr., Don (June 28, 2011). "Ex-Tide star Cornelius Bennett spends his days helping others now". AL.com. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  2. ^ Utterback, Bill (September 2, 1988). "Trying To Avoid Bills' Bennett Has Become Foes' No. 1 Pastime". Chicago Tribune. Scripps Howard News Service. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  3. ^ Smith, Stephen M. (June 25, 2015). "Cornelius Bennett's Path To The NFL". TD Alabama Magazine. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  4. ^ "Cornelius Bennett voted into Hall of Fame". The Tuscaloosa News. May 18, 2005. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  5. ^ "Vince Lombardi Award Winners". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  6. ^ "SEC Player of the Year Winners". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  7. ^ "1986 Heisman Trophy Voting". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  8. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (January 5, 1989). "Bennett of Bills Already Rated As One of the N.F.L.'s Best". New York Times. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  9. ^ "Cornelius Bennett Enshrined into College Football Hall of Fame". University of Alabama Athletics. August 12, 2006. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  10. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (October 17, 1988). "Bills' Bennett Says He's Best". New York Times. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  11. ^ "1987 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  12. ^ Horrigon, Joe. "The MMQB NFL All-Time Draft". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  13. ^ "Alabama Drafted Players/Alumni". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  14. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (December 18, 1987). "Trade for Bennett Pays Off for Bills". New York Times. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  15. ^ Weinfuss, Josh (January 31, 2014). "Cards broadcaster lost 5 Super Bowls". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  16. ^ "Cornelius Bennett". Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. August 7, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  17. ^ "FOX Facts: NFL Player Marquise Hill Found Dead in New Orleans' Lake Ponchartrain". Fox News. May 28, 2007. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  18. ^ Fabrizio, Tony. "Cornelius Bennett: Back on Top - TheCabin.net". thecabin.net. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  19. ^ "JUDGE SAYS CORNELIUS BENNETT MUST DO JAIL TIME IN SEX ASSAULT". April 1, 1998. Archived from the original on September 21, 2014. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. ^ "N.F.L.: NOTEBOOK; Bennett Draws Jail Term in Sex Case". The New York Times. Associated Press. February 27, 1998.
  21. ^ "USATODAY.com - Cases involving athletes and sexual assault". usatoday30.usatoday.com.
  22. ^ Segrast, Doug (May 12, 2010). "Cornelius Bennett's putting brain where his mouth is for future NFL players". AL.com. Retrieved September 16, 2023.

Further reading