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HOF Artifact of the Week

HOF Artifact of the Week

11/16/2018
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This week's featured artifact is a Riddell Kra-lite model helmet worn by Dick LeBeau. This helmet was worn during his brilliant 14-year career as a cornerback with the Detroit Lions from 1959 – 1972.

Before becoming the Defensive Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the architect for the “zone blitz” defense (1995-96, 2004-2014), LeBeau (as a player) recorded 62 career interceptions for 762 yards and three touchdowns and ranked third all-time in interceptions when he retired. He is currently tied for 10th all-time in career interceptions.

In all LeBeau has spent 59 years in the NFL as a player and a coach. He served as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals (2000-02) and also as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills and most recently with the Tennessee Titans (2016-17).

Arguably the highlight of LeBeau coaching career came as a defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers when the franchise won Super Bowls XL and XLIII. In 2004 LeBeau was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.

As a collegian, LeBeau was a member of Ohio State’s 1957 National Championship team. He was originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 5th round of the 1959 NFL Draft, but in a colossal mistake the Browns cut LeBeau and the Detroit Lions signed him soon after. Six games into his rookie season the Lions made him a starter. Despite playing in a secondary that at one time or another featured future Hall of Famers Dick “Night Train” Lane, Yale Lary, and Lem Barney, he led or shared the team lead in interceptions four times.

Our weekly artifacts and other unique items are featured daily in our docent presentations for visitors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Plan your visit to the Hall to learn more about the collection in our archives.

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