Kenneth Gant
No. 29
Position:Safety
Personal information
Born: (1967-04-18) April 18, 1967 (age 54)
Bartow, Florida
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:187 lb (85 kg)
Career information
High school:Lakeland (FL) Kathleen
College:Albany State (GA)
NFL Draft:1990 / Round: 9 / Pick: 221
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:113
Interceptions:7
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Kenneth Dwayne Gant (born April 18, 1967) is a former American football safety in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He won Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII, both over the Buffalo Bills. He played college football at Albany State University.

Early life

Gant attended Kathleen High School in Lakeland, Florida. He received a football scholarship from Albany State University, where although he came in as an offensive player, he was converted to the defensive side and became a four-year starter at cornerback.[1]

As a freshman, he posted 15 tackles, 3 interceptions and one pass defensed. As a sophomore, he tallied 33 tackles, 3 interceptions and 6 passes defensed. As a junior, he recorded 55 tackles, 3 sacks and 6 passes defensed. He also made 7 tackles against Fort Valley State University.

As senior, he registered 55 tackles, 5 interceptions (third in the conference) and one blocked punt. He had 6 tackles and one interception against Savannah State University. In his college career he only missed one game, finishing with 158 tackles, 14 interceptions, 17 passes defensed and 4 fumble recoveries.[2]

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

Gant was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the ninth round (221st overall) of the 1990 NFL draft. During training camp he was tried at cornerback, but the team eventually moved him to safety. As a rookie, he was activated from the injured reserve list on October 1.

In 1991, from his gunner position he led the Cowboys special teams with 25 tackles (18 solo). He also registered 14 defensive tackles and 3 passes defensed. He started at left cornerback in the eleventh game against the New York Giants. He was a kickoff returner in the last 9 games of the season.

In 1992, he was moved from cornerback to strong safety and the defense led the NFL in preventing third-down conversions, allowing opponents a conversion rate of 27.2 percent. He finished with 13 special teams tackles (second on the team), three sacks, nine quarterback pressures, three interceptions (tied for the team lead), three forced fumbles (tied for the team lead), 10 passes defensed, one blocked punt and led backup players in defensive tackles (54). In 1993, he was third on the team with 17 special teams tackles.[3] He also was a kickoff returner in the first 4 games of the season. In the playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons, he forced 2 fumbles in the third quarter to help setup 2 touchdowns.

In 1993, he missed most of training camp after suffering a separated left shoulder in preseason against the Detroit Lions. He played in 12 games, collecting 17 special teams tackles (fourth on the team), one interception, 11 passes defensed (second on the team) and led backup players in defensive tackles (43).

In 1994, he had 15 special teams tackles, one interception, 4 passes defensed and 15 defensive tackles.[4]

Gant was a member of the Cowboys Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII championship teams. He was nicknamed "The Shark" because during the 1992 season, before every kickoff and after making big plays, he would perform a celebratory dance dubbed "The Shark Dance". Typically, he would strut around, flapping his elbows while holding his hand over his head to simulate a shark's dorsal fin, a move that he learned from teammate Kevin Smith, who called it "the Shark Fin" from his days at Texas A&M University, where defensive backs used it to celebrate.[5]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On March 23, 1995, Gant signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He appeared in 16 games with 3 starts, collecting 28 defensive tackles, 2 passes defensed and 11 special teams tackles (second on the team).

In 1996, he appeared in 16 games as a backup, tallying 11 special teams tackles (third on the team). In 1997, he appeared in 9 games as a backup, registering 4 special teams tackles. He was waived on November 28.[6]

In 1999, Gant played for the Mobile Admirals in the short-lived Regional Football League.[7]

Personal life

Gant is married and has two children. He resided in Tampa, Florida, where he is the Founder and Pastor of Faith Works Ministries International.[8]

References

  1. ^ Ellis, Jennifer (20 September 1995). "Football player stresses hard work". The Ledger. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  2. ^ "Cowboys Shore-Up Defensive Corps". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. 24 April 1990. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  3. ^ "Both sides seek special delivery". Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  4. ^ "Bucs sign safety Kenneth Gant". UPI. March 24, 1995. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  5. ^ Monkovic, Toni (18 September 2008). "'Boys Will Be Boys,' an Excerpt". The Fifth Down. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  6. ^ New York Times Staff (29 November 1997). "Transactions". New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  7. ^ Barkowitz, Ed (June 24, 1999). "Costa is Mobilizing". Philadelphia Daily News. p. 87. Retrieved January 29, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Mullenax, Steven (30 August 2011). "Whatever happened to the dancing Kenny "The Shark" Gant?". The Landry Hat. Retrieved March 30, 2020.