Shannon Sharpe was born on June 26, 1968 in Chicago Illinois. The 6-2 228 pound Sharpe played his college football at Savannah State and was drafted by the Denver Broncos in round 7, pick 192 of the 1990 NFL Draft. He is the brother of All-Pro wide receiver Sterling Sharpe.
Shannon Sharpe Moves to Tight End
Shannon Sharpe could have been a big wide receiver in the NFL, but he got the coach’s attention in practice when he played the other team’s tight end against the Broncos’ defense. The Denver Broncos’ defense could not cover Sharpe. As a result, Sharpe was asked to move to the tight end position. “One day at practice, John Elway said I could play in this league and be something special,” Sharpe said. “From that moment on, for him to go out of his way to say it, I knew I was going to make it. I just had to go out and make it happen. Me and John Elway really built a relationship. It didn't matter what the situation was, he knew he could come to me at any time and that I would make a play.” (1)
Shannon Sharpe to the Pro Bowl
During Shannon Sharpe’s 14-year NFL career he went to the Pro Bowl eight times. His best season was in 1996 when he caught 80 passes for 1062 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had three 1000 yard seasons and caught 10 touchdowns in a season twice.
Shannon Sharpe Super Bowls
Shannon Sharpe won three Super Bowls during his fabulous career. Super Bowl XXXII, XXXIII, and XXXV. During Super Bowl XXXII against the Green Bay Packers Shannon Sharpe was used as a decoy to help the Denver running game. Coach Mike Shannahan noticed that he could dictate the defense the Packers would be in by where he lined up Sharpe. His plan was effective. They took LeRoy Butler out of the game and Terrell Davis ran for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Butler did make a ton of tackles, but they were all after good gains for the Broncos. Denver won 31-24 in an upset to give them their first Championship.
The next season the 1998 Denver Broncos once again went back to the Super Bowl after a franchise best 14-2 mark. Shannon Sharpe was going to be an important part of the game plan, and caught some passes early. Unfortunately Sharpe suffered a knee injury early in the game, but the Broncos won 34-19 for their second straight Super Bowl. In 2000, Sharpe was a member of the Baltimore Ravens. He was a key leader on the team; the Ravens won the Super Bowl in dominating fashion over the New York Giants.
Memorable Games for Shannon Sharpe
During a playoff game against the Los Angeles Raiders on January 9, 1994 the Raiders and Broncos were in a shootout. After a 21-21 tie at halftime, the Raiders pulled away for the victory, but Shannon Sharpe tied a playoff record by catching 13 passes; he added 156 yards including a 23-yard touchdown reception.
The Denver Broncos trailed the San Diego Chargers 17-0 late in the first half at Mile High Stadium. Without an effective running game, John Elway threw four touchdown passes, three to Shannon Sharpe, as the Broncos rallied to victory 28-17. For the game, Sharpe caught a career high 13 passes for 153 yards and the three touchdowns. After the game John Elway said, “In my opinion, Shannon is the best tight end in the league. He does some amazing things to get open.” (3)
On October 20, 2002 the Denver Broncos travelled to Arrowhead Stadium to play the Kansas City Chiefs. Shannon Sharpe had the game of his life. His 214 receiving yards broke Lionel Taylor's 42-year-old single-game franchise record (199). It also was the best performance ever for a tight end, surpassing the 212-yard performance by Jackie Smith on Oct. 13, 1963. Sharpe made an 82-yard touchdown catch on the second series of the third quarter, a new career long in the regular season. Of his 12 catches for 214 yards, he caught seven of them for 90 yards and a 28-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter alone. “I still can't believe the day happened,” he said. “I don't believe I played this well. I thought last week was the best I've played from a catching-the-ball standpoint and from a blocking standpoint, but I think with the exception of maybe two plays, this might be the most complete game I've played in my 13-year career.” (2)
Shannon Sharpe’s Career
Shannon Sharpe is known for having a big mouth, both on the field and off the field. He routinely would get under the skin of defensive players, and on multiple occasions caused defensive players to have a meltdown. Perhaps his most memorable moment came on November 17, 1996 at the New England Patriots. The Denver Broncos were in the midst of a route when Sharpe went over and picked up a phone on the sideline. “Mr. President. We need the National Guard. We need as many men as you can spare because we are killing the Patriots. So call the dogs off. Send the National Guard, please. They need emergency help.” (5) The Denver Broncos beat the Patriots 34-8.
“Maybe some of the people didn't agree with some of the things I had to say,” Sharpe said. “Maybe they didn't like me because I was a little arrogant and because I was cocky. But what I can honestly say, when they came to the games on Sunday, they were proud to see ‘84’ on their football team.” (4)
Sharpe was a winner during his career, which spanned 204 regular season games, and had a lot to do with the outcome. “What do you think the record is when I caught a touchdown pass?" Sharpe asked. "Go look it up.” He caught touchdown passes in 50 different games and his team was 43-7 in those contests. His team was 23-0 in the final 23 games in which he caught a touchdown.
Shannon Sharpe is remembered most as a receiving tight end. During his brilliant career he hauled in 815 passes for 10,060 yards and 62 touchdowns. He also added 62 catches for another 814 and four touchdown receptions in the playoffs. During his career he worked hard in the running game, improving his blocking so he could be an every down player. In fact, he was part of Terrell Davis’ 2000-yard season as a blocker. Sharpe is a member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and will soon join John Elway in Canton, Ohio in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I think, all in all, in 14 years, I got the most out of my God-given ability,” Sharpe said. “I could walk away and not look back. If I had to trade one (Super Bowl) back . . . I'd take the friendships. Guys like Dwayne Carswell, Ray Lewis, Keith Burns, Steve Atwater . . . Those friendships are priceless. If I don't come to Denver, I don't make those friendships. Everything really worked out for me. That's why I always came to work with a smile on my face.” (1)
When Sharpe announced his retirement, Owner Pat Bowlen said, “I know there will not be another Shannon Sharpe, just like there will not be another John Elway, in this organization.” (4) Shannon Sharpe was the best tight end in Denver Broncos History and is one of the best in all of profootball!
By A. Goodin, 20Yardline.com
Shannon Sharpe Biography Sources
(1) COLORADO SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES, MARCH 4 (2005, March 4) Rocky Mountain News