Shannon Sharpe was a seventh-round draft choice in 1990 from Savannah State who would eventually become a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Broncos and Ravens. Even more significant is that Sharpe was one of the first to represent the current breed of NFL tight ends.
The eight-time Pro Bowler is the eighth tight end to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and his numbers dwarf those of his seven predecessors. Sharpe’s 815 receptions are 153 more than Ozzie Newsome, and his 10,060 yards are 2,080 more than Newsome.
Sharpe currently ranks second in NFL history in receptions and receiving yards by a tight end, behind only Tony Gonzalez, who is rewriting the record books with 1,069 catches (sixth in NFL history), 12,463 yards and 88 scores, all ranking in the top 20 in their respective categories.
Other current tight ends piling up big numbers are San Diego’s Antonio Gates, whose 69 scores rank second behind Gonzalez, and Dallas’ Jason Witten, who has 617 receptions in just eight seasons.
— Russell S. Baxter