Damontae Kazee
refer to caption
Kazee with the Atlanta Falcons in 2019
No. 24 – Pittsburgh Steelers
Position:Safety
Personal information
Born: (1993-06-05) June 5, 1993 (age 29)
San Bernardino, California
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school:Cajon
(San Bernardino, California)
College:San Diego State
NFL Draft:2017 / Round: 5 / Pick: 149
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
  • NFL interceptions co-leader (2018)
  • 2× Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year (2015, 2016)
  • 2× First-Team All-Mountain West (2015, 2016)
  • Second-Team All-Mountain West (2014)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 16, 2021
Total tackles:243
Forced fumbles:7
Pass deflections:17
Interceptions:12
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Damontae Tyron Kazee (born June 5, 1993) is an American football safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He played college football at San Diego State.

Early years

Kazee attended Cajon, where he was a two-way player at cornerback and running back. As a senior in 2011, he registered 27 tackles, 2 interceptions, one forced fumble, 4 rushing touchdowns and 4 receiving touchdowns. He was a three-time All-CIF selection.

He also lettered in basketball and track.

College career

Kazee accepted a football scholarship from San Diego State, following in the footsteps of his older brother Walter, who was a running back with the Aztecs.[1]

As a redshirt freshman he appeared in 13 games as a backup cornerback, missing the eighth against the University of New Mexico with a concussion. He made 41 tackles (3 for loss), one interception, 2 pass breakups, one sack, 4 forced fumbles (tied for fourth in school history) and one blocked kick. He had 4 and one tackle against the Eastern Illinois University. He made 6 tackles and one interception against Ohio State University. He had 5 tackles and one forced fumble against Oregon State University.

As a sophomore, he started all 13 games at cornerback, posting 58 tackles (4 for loss), one 13 pass breakups (led the team), one fumble recovery and 2 quarterback hurries. He had four tackles (three solo) and 3 pass breakups against UNLV. He made 5 tackles against Fresno State University. He had 5 tackles and 2 pass breakups against the University of New Mexico. He made 6 tackles, 2 pass breakups and one interception against the University of Hawai'i. He had 7 tackles, one pass breakup and one quarterback pressure against Boise State University.

As a junior, he started 14 games at cornerback, collecting 75 tackles (5.5 for loss), 58 solo tackles (led the team), 8 interceptions (second in school history), 7 pass breakups and 2 forced fumbles. He had 3 tackles (2 for loss) and 3 interceptions (tied for second in school history) against the University of San Diego. He made 7 tackles and one pass breakup against the University of California. He had 11 tackles (10 solo), one pass breakup and one forced fumble against the University of South Alabama. He made 8 tackles (0.5 for loss) against Penn State University. He made 9 tackles (one for loss) and one interception against San Jose State University. He had 7 tackles, one interception returned for a touchdown and one forced fumble against Colorado State University.

As a senior, he started 14 games at cornerback, registering 65 tackles (3 for loss), 7 interceptions (fourth in school history), one interception returned for a touchdown, 156 interception return yards (second in the conference), 8 pass breakups and one quarterback hurry. He set a school record for career interceptions (17) and became the first player in school history with 6 or more interceptions in consecutive seasons. He had 6 tackles, 3 pass breakups and one interception against the University of California. He made 5 tackles, one interception and one quarterback hurry against Northern Illinois University. He had 5 tackles and one interception at Fresno State University. He had 4 tackles, 2 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and one pass breakup against the University of Hawai'i.

Professional career

On November 14, 2016, it was announced that Kazee accepted his invitation to appear in the 2017 Senior Bowl.[2] On January 28, 2017, he appeared in the Senior Bowl and helped Cleveland Browns' head coach Hue Jackson's South team defeat the North 16–15. His overall performance impressed scouts and raised his draft stock.[3] He was one of 35 collegiate cornerbacks to receive an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana.[4] He performed the majority of combine drills, but opted to skip the short shuttle and three-cone drill.

On March 23, 2017, he attended San Diego State's Pro Day, but opted to stand on his combine numbers and performed positional drills, the short shuttle, and three-cone drills for scouts and team representatives from 29 NFL teams that attended, including Los Angeles Chargers' defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.[5] At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Kazee was projected to be a fourth or fifth round pick by the majority of NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked as the 22nd best cornerback prospect in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com.[6]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
5 ft 10+14 in
(1.78 m)
184 lb
(83 kg)
30+78 in
(0.78 m)
8+58 in
(0.22 m)
4.54 s 1.60 s 2.65 s 4.27 s 7.11 s 34 in
(0.86 m)
10 ft 4 in
(3.15 m)
11 reps
All values from NFL Combine[7]

Atlanta Falcons

2017

Kazee was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round (149th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.[8]

On May 9, 2017, the Atlanta Falcons signed Kazee to a four-year, $2.68 million contract with a signing bonus of $288,922.[9]

Kazee entered training camp competing against Brian Poole for the starting nickel back role. Head coach Dan Quinn opted to transition him to free safety in July and Kazee showed promise throughout training camp in his new role.[10] He was named the backup free safety to Ricardo Allen to start the 2017 season.[11]

He made his professional regular season debut in the Atlanta Falcons' season-opener at the Chicago Bears and made two solo tackles and forced a fumble in their 23–17 victory. On October 1, 2017, Kazee earned his first career start after Ricardo Allen was unable to play after suffering a concussion the previous week. He finished the Falcons' 23–17 loss to the Buffalo Bills with a season-high nine combined tackles and a forced fumble. He finished the season with 23 combined tackles (14 solo) and two forced fumbles in one start and 16 games.[12]

2018

Kazee catching an interception against the Washington Redskins in 2018.
Kazee catching an interception against the Washington Redskins in 2018.

Kazee entered the 2018 season as the backup strong safety to Keanu Neal. He was named the starter following a season-ending injury to Neal in Week 1. During Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers, Kazee was ejected for making a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cam Newton. The Falcons won 31-24.[13] In Week 3, he recorded a season-high 10 combined tackles and an interception. Kazee ended the 2018 season third on the team with 82 combined tackles, and tied for the league lead with seven interceptions with Kyle Fuller and Xavien Howard.[14]

2019

In Week 11 against the Carolina Panthers, Kazee recorded his first interception of the season off a pass thrown by Kyle Allen in the 29–3 win.[15] In Week 14 against the Panthers, Kazee forced a fumble on wide receiver Greg Dortch during a kickoff return which was recovered by kicker Younghoe Koo and recorded 2 more interceptions off passes thrown by Kyle Allen during the 40–20 win.[16] Kazee finished the 2019 season with 74 combined tackles, three interceptions, and one forced fumble.

2020

In week 4 of the 2020 NFL season against the Green Bay Packers, Kazee tore his Achilles' tendon, ending his season. He finished the season with 20 tackles and 1 forced fumble. He was placed on injured reserve on October 7, 2020.[17] He finished his career with the Falcons with 199 tackles, 10 interceptions, 13 pass breakups and 5 forced fumbles.

Dallas Cowboys

On March 29, 2021, Kazee signed with the Dallas Cowboys, reuniting with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who was his head coach with the Falcons.[18]

Pittsburgh Steelers

On May 3, 2022, Kazee signed a one-year contract with the Steelers.[19]

Personal life

On October 19, 2021, Kazee was arrested and charged with driving while under the influence after he was pulled over for a traffic violation in The Colony, Texas.[20]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck TFL PD Int Yds Avg Lng TD FF FR Yds TD
2017 ATL 16 1 23 14 9 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 0 0 0
2018 ATL 16 15 82 60 22 0.0 1.0 10 7 54 7.7 33 0 1 0 0 0
2019 ATL 16 14 74 46 28 0.0 2.0 3 3 53 17.7 22 0 1 0 0 0
2020 ATL 4 4 20 17 3 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
2021 DAL 17 15 52 35 17 0.0 0 4 2 8 4 8 0 2 0 0 0
Career 69 49 251 172 79 0.0 3 17 12 115 9.6 33 0 7 0 0 0

References

  1. ^ "Jamaal Williams, Damontae Kazee eagerly awaiting NFL draft". Dailybulletin.com. April 26, 2017. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  2. ^ "Prospects who have accepted invites to 2017 Senior Bowl". NFL.com. November 14, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  3. ^ Dan Salomone (January 30, 2017). "Mike Mayock names 10 standouts from Senior Bowl". Giants.com. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  4. ^ Scott Patsko (February 27, 2017). "NFL Combine 2017: Complete list of invited players". Cleveland.com. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  5. ^ Gil Brandt (March 23, 2017). "Pro day results: Stanford, Ohio St., Utah, Missouri, SDSU". NFL.com. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  6. ^ "Damontae Kazee, DS #22 CB, San Diego State". nfldraftscout.com. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  7. ^ "NFL Draft Profile: Damontae Kazee". NFL.com. January 2, 2018.
  8. ^ Conway, Kelsey (April 29, 2017). "Falcons Take DB Damontae Kazee With No. 149 Overall Pick". AtlantaFalcons.com. Archived from the original on January 3, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  9. ^ "Spotrac.com: Damontae Kazee contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  10. ^ Vaughan McClure (August 16, 2017). "Damontae Kazee still rates himself as average despite hot start". ESPN. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  11. ^ Tim Weaver (September 2, 2017). "First official Falcons depth chart for 2017 season". thefalconswire.usatoday.com. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  12. ^ "NFL Player stats: Damontae Kazee (2017)". NFL.com. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  13. ^ "Damontae Kazee ejected for Cam Newton helmet hit". NFL. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  14. ^ "Falcons' Damontae Kazee: Tallies seven interceptions in 2018". CBSSports.com. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  15. ^ "Falcons defense overwhelms Allen, Panthers 29-3". www.espn.com. November 17, 2019. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  16. ^ "Ryan leads Falcons to another big win over Panthers, 40-20". www.espn.com. December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  17. ^ McFadden, Will (October 7, 2020). "Falcons place Damontae Kazee on IR". AtlantaFalcons.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  18. ^ "Cowboys Agree To Terms With Safety Kazee". DallasCowboys.com. March 25, 2021.
  19. ^ Varley, Teresa (May 3, 2022). "Kazee signed to one-year contract". Steelers.com. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  20. ^ "Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee arrested and charged with DWI in Dallas, per report".