Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Richard Dent was a member of one of the greatest defensive units in league history. And, in today’s NFL, it’s possible that Dent might have never gotten that chance.
Dent already belongs to an exclusive club when it comes to Super Bowl history. Only seven times in the 45-year history of the game has a defensive player been named Most Valuable Player. The last was Buccaneers S Dexter Jackson in Super Bowl XXXVII. There are a total of eight defensive Super Bowl MVPs (Cowboys DT Randy White and DE Harvey Martin shared the award in Super Bowl XII), and Dent is the last defensive lineman to earn those honors in Super Bowl XX.
What makes Dent’s story special is that he was an eighth-round selection (203rd overall) in the 1983 NFL Draft from Tennessee State. While there are annually 250-plus players selected in current draft, there are also only seven rounds. The only Super Bowl defensive MVP to be drafted lower was Cowboys CB Larry Brown (Super Bowl XXX), a 12th-round pick from TCU in 1991.
Obviously, good things come for those who “have” to wait.
— Russell S. Baxter