Shannon Sharpe Denver Broncos & Baltimore Ravens
"My life for 14 years in the National Football League was football," Sharpe said. "I ate, I drank, I slept and thought football. That's all I wanted to do. I didn't take vacations, I didn't own a yacht, I didn't have a whole bunch of hobbies other than working out and getting ready for the upcoming season."
The Denver Broncos selected Shannon Sharpe out of Savannah State in the seventh round of the 1990 NFL Draft. He retired 14 seasons later as the all-time leader in catches, yards and touchdowns by a tight end.
His breakout year came during his third season when he led the Broncos in receiving with 53 catches for 640 yards to earn his first of eight Pro Bowl nods. Other than an injury-shortened 1999 campaign, Sharpe never caught less than 60 passes in a season for the remainder of his career.
In 1993, he was named first-team All-Pro for the first of four times after catching 81 passes for 995 yards and scoring 9 touchdowns. He followed that performance with a career-high 87 receptions in 1994.
Sharpe left the Broncos in 2000 and signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an unrestricted free agent. It was while with Baltimore in 2001 that Sharpe surpassed Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome to become the NFL’s record holder for receptions and receiving yards by a tight end. After two seasons with the Ravens he returned to Denver and played two final years with the Broncos. He became the career leader in touchdowns by a tight end in his final season. All three career marks have since been surpassed. Sharpe’s final career numbers read 815 receptions for 10,060 yards and 62 TDs. Ten times he had 60 or more catches including three 80-catch seasons. Sharpe eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark three times and twice had 10 TDs in a season.
He played in 204 regular season games and started in four AFC championship games. He was the starting tight end in Denver’s back-to-back Super Bowl titles (XXXII and XXXIII) and the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV victory.
Sharpe’s 96-yard touchdown reception in the 2000 AFC Championship Game came on a short pass from Trent Dilfer on third-and-18. The tight end streaked up the middle untouched for the game’s first and only touchdown which proved to be all that the Ravens needed to secure its first AFC championship and Super Bowl berth. The play remains the longest TD catch in NFL playoff history.
Sharpe led the Broncos in receiving six times and the Ravens once. He was named first-team All-Pro and All-AFC in 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998 and was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.