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Gold Jacket Spotlight: Paul Krause's 'Out There' Record

Gold Jacket Spotlight: Paul Krause's 'Out There' Record

09/12/2021
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Major League Baseball points to Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak or Cy Young’s 511 career wins.

In the NBA, it’s most often Wilt Chamberlin’s 100-point game.

Among the National Football League’s “records that might never be broken,” fans shouldn’t overlook the lofty figure for career interceptions.

Paul Krause, the Pro Football Hall of Famer who this week steps into the Gold Jacket Spotlight, last walked off a pro field Dec. 16, 1979. And while a couple of eventual Hall of Famers threatened his record of 81 pass interceptions, it’s still safe a full 41 seasons later and will be for many more years to come.

Combining consistency with longevity, Paul intercepted at least two passes in 15 of his 16 NFL seasons – four in Washington and the final 12 in Minnesota.

Paul burst on the scene in 1964. A second-round draft pick and immediate starter at safety in Washington, he recorded two interceptions in his professional debut against the eventual NFL champion Cleveland Browns.

He finished his rookie season with a league-high 12 picks, returning one for a touchdown. He was named to the Pro Bowl and was a first-team All-Pro, both honors he would duplicate the following season.

Paul intercepted 28 passes in only 54 games with Washington, but a rift with the secondary coach led to a trade to the Vikings.

Helping the “Purple People Eaters” to 10 Central Division titles and four Super Bowl appearances, Paul made six more Pro Bowls, including five in a row (1971-75 seasons) in his 12 years with the Vikings. He also garnered first-team All-Pro honors a third time, in 1975, when he made 10 interceptions – one fewer than league-leader Mel Blount – in the 14-game NFL season.

Paul set the career record late in the 1979 season with the first of his two interceptions in the game at Los Angeles. Giants and Packers great Emlen Tunnell had held the record with 79 since his retirement in 1961.

Rod Woodson got close with 71 over his 17-season Hall of Fame career. Richard Sherman leads active players with 36, but at age 33 already has played 10 NFL seasons.

“That’s what the problem is: Guys have to play a long time,” Paul told an interviewer about players coming along to challenge his record. “If a guy gets five or six a year, that’s a great year.”

Paul averaged five a year over his career.

Miami’s Xavien Howard, who has led the NFL in interceptions twice in his five-year career, including a league-high 10 last season, totaled only five in his three other seasons.

“I don’t wish anybody bad luck or anything like that,” Paul said. “Sure, I like my record, but if somebody breaks it, hey, more power to ‘em.”

Paul said of his 81 career interceptions: “It’s a record that I’m very proud of.”

It’s a record that made Paul one of the Hall of Fame’s 354 members, and this week it puts him in the Gold Jacket Spotlight.

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