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Johnie Cooks
No. 98
Personal information
Born:(1958-11-23)November 23, 1958
Leland, Mississippi, U.S.
Died:July 6, 2023(2023-07-06) (aged 64)
Mississippi, U.S.
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:243 lb (110 kg)
Career information
High school:Leland
College:Mississippi State
NFL Draft:1982 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at · PFR

Johnie Earl Cooks (November 23, 1958 – July 6, 2023) was an American professional football player who was a linebacker for 10 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Mississippi State Bulldogs and was selected by the Baltimore Colts as the second overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft. He played from 1982 to 1991 for the Colts, New York Giants, and Cleveland Browns. He was a member of the Giants when they defeated the Buffalo Bills 20–19 in Super Bowl XXV.

Cooks was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

College career

Johnie Cooks played college football at Mississippi State where he earned four letters, and earned a degree in physical education. During his college career, he amassed 373 tackles, 241 of those unassisted. During his junior year, he recorded a career high 24 tackles in a game against Auburn. He was also the defensive MVP in the 1981 Hall of Fame Bowl. He was named a 1st team SEC and 1st team AP All-American.[1]

Professional career

Cooks was the second overall draft choice, selected in the first round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts.[2] He started only two games in his rookie season, but by the end of the season, he had 63 tackles, one sack, and one fumble recovery. In 1983, he was moved to the outside linebacker position, this time recording 67 tackles that year.[2] He also had a 52-yard fumble return in overtime against the New England Patriots that won the game for Baltimore. After having only 5 quarterback sacks in 1983, Cooks recorded 11+12 in 1984 in the team's first season in Indianapolis, which led the Colts. His best game occurred against the Raiders, when he sacked the quarterback Jim Plunkett 4 times.

In 1988 Cooks was released by the Colts and was picked up by the New York Giants. After playing for years on mediocre Colts teams Cooks won a Super Bowl title when the Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills. He was released by the Giants in 1991 and signed with the Cleveland Browns in 1992. Nagging injuries caused Cooks to retire after the 1992 season.[1]

Later life and death

Cooks lived in Starkville, Mississippi, for many years.[3] He died on July 6, 2023, at the age of 64.[2]


  1. ^ a b 1992 Cleveland Browns Media Guide[full citation needed]
  2. ^ a b c "Johnie Cooks, former Baltimore Colts linebacker and Mississippi State star, dies at 64". The Baltimore Sun. July 7, 2023. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  3. ^ Murray, David H. (July 6, 2023). "Bulldog Country says goodbye to all-time great Johnie Cooks". 247 Sports. Retrieved July 6, 2023.