Notes & Quotes: Dick LeBeau

Enshrinement Published on : 7/27/2010

Dick LeBeau is the 14th long-time member of the Detroit Lions to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Dick LeBeau's HOF Bio>>>


LeBeau is one of only six players in NFL history to register 60 interceptions over a 12-year span. He is one of only two cornerbacks to average five picks per season.

His 62 interceptions came off of throws by 29 different quarterbacks. Eighteen of his interceptions were off of four Hall of Famers: Johnny Unitas (7), Bart Starr (7), Fran Tarkenton (3), and Y.A. Tittle (1).

LeBeau is one of only 12 players in NFL history and the only player in Lions history to return a fumble and an interception for a touchdown in the same game. He accomplished this feat in Detroit's 37-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 9, 1962. LeBeau scooped up a fumble and returned it 26 yards for a score and then proceeded to pick off a pass and return it 31 yards for a touchdown.

The longest interception return of his career was a 70-yard touchdown on Sept. 14, 1963 against the Los Angeles Rams.

LeBeau was a key cog in one of the greatest eras of defense in Lions' history. From 1961-70, the Lions ranked in the top five in total defense eight times. That included finishing first in 1962 and 1965; second in 1969-1970; third in 1961 and 1967; fourth in 1968; and fifth in 1964.

LeBeau has more interceptions (62) than 15 of the other 20 current defensive backs in the Hall of Fame.

There is only one player who played their entire career at cornerback, Hall of Famer Dick "Night Train" Lane, who has more career interceptions than LeBeau.


"People would try to pick on him, because he didn't have all the physical attributes that most guys had in the secondary. But the fact that he was as smart as he was and studied as much as he did, that's what made him excel—that's why he had the numbers. He was ahead of the quarterback." - Charlie Sanders, former Lions teammate

"Everything he touches, he leaves it better than he found it. That is the special mark of the man." - Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals head coach

"He's the same way he was 54 years ago. You can trust him—you can believe in him." - Dick Schafrath, guard, former Ohio State teammate

''He was a corner who could play the ball. When the ball was in the air, he had as much of a chance of getting it as the receiver did. He could judge its flight, it was easy for him." - Mike Brown, Bengals President (son of Paul Brown)

''Everyone knew he was a good player. Dick was kind of clever, a bright guy, very popular. He'd say clever things to make you laugh, almost defiant." - Paul Wiggin, former Browns defensive end

''I fashion myself to be a historian of the game. His consecutive game streak at the cornerback position probably won't be broken. This guy played in 171 consecutive games at corner in the NFL. That alone is special. He's a legendary takeaway man with 60-plus career interceptions." - Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach

"You don't start 171 straight games at cornerback if you can't play better than your average duck. You can say all you want about playing with other good guys, but it is undeniable you can't play that many games at that position if you can't play." - Ron Borges, The Boston Herald

"He's proud of his career and he deserves to be. But if you look at everything he's accomplished in this game to go along with his playing, there aren't many people that have done as much as he has." - Brian Simmons, former Bengals linebacker

"Few players in Lions' history were as productive and durable as Dick was during his 14-year career. Not only was he a critical piece of several outstanding defenses during his career, but he also played the game with tremendous class and dignity. In 1970, Dick eclipsed the franchise's all-time record with a remarkable 62 career interceptions, a mark that still stands after almost 40 years." - Tom Lewand, Detroit Lions president

"He prepared himself over and above everybody else. He knew exactly what the other team was trying to do at all times. He knew what we needed to do defensively. He was always in control and always understood exactly what was going on on the football field." - Joe Schmidt, former teammate and coach