Richard Dent 6'5" 265 Defensive End Chicago Bears 1983 - 1997 15 Seasons 203 Games Played 137.5 Sacks 8 Interceptions 37 Forced Fumbles 18 Fumbles Recovered 1 Safety 2 Touchdowns 4 Pro Bowls
Richard Lamar Dent was an eighth round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in the 1983 draft. He was the 203rd player chosen overall. Dent went to college at Tennessee State University. He played immediately as a freshman Defensive End, recording 7 sacks as a reserve. He had 8, then 10 over the next two seasons starting at DE. He was moved to Defensive Tackle in his senior year, and accumulated 14 sacks. He was named to the Sheridan Broadcasting Network First Team All American, and was the Sheridan Broadcasting Network Defensive Player of the Year. His 39 career sacks are a school record, surpassing the previous total of 38 set by Ed "Too Tall" Jones, and tied by Cleveland Elam. Nicknamed "Dirty" by his team mates, Dent is a member of the Tennessee State University Hall Of Fame, and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Dent earned playing time with the Bears in his rookie season as it progressed. He ended up starting 3 games, and recorded 3 sacks. Firmly entrenched as the Bears starting Defensive End in 1984, Dent went wild and collected a career best 17.5 sacks. Richard was selected to his first Pro Bowl Team due to his efforts. 1985 is a season most Bears fan remember as one of the best teams in franchise history. Dent was certainly a key member on a defense that ranked first in the NFL in total defense. He led the NFL with 17 sacks, intercepted 2 passes, and returned 1 for his first NFL touchdown. He also also forced a career best 7 fumbles that year. Dent was selected to his second Pro Bowl Team after the season. Dent was even better once the Bears made the playoffs, recording 3.5 sacks and forcing 2 fumbles in a win over the New York Giants. He then sacked the Los Angeles Quarterback, and forced a fumble in the NFC Championship game. That ball was returned for a touchdown, sealing the victory over the Rams. In Super Bowl XX, Dent had 2 sacks and forced 2 fumbles and was named the Super Bowl MVP in the Bears win. Over the next 4 seasons, Dent missed 9 games due to injuries, but still managed to garner 43.5 sacks and an interception over that time. 1990 saw Dent back in full health, as he picked off a career best 3 interceptions, scored the last touchdown of his career off of a fumble recovery, and had 12 sacks. He was named to his 3rd Pro Bowl Team as well. By 1993, Dent was 33 years old, and would make his final Pro Bowl Team that year. He had 12.5 sacks, and intercepted the last pass of his career. Dent then joined the San Francisco 49ers in 1994. Though the injured Dent played just 2 games, recording 2 sacks, the 49ers went on to win Super Bowl XXIX, and Dent was given his second Super Bowl ring. Richard returned to the Bears for the 1995 season, but could not stay healthy. He played just 3 games, and it was his only season he did not record a sack. Dent moved on to play for the Indianapolis Colts in 1996, and was mainly used as a pass rushing specialist. He picked up 6.5 sacks, and recorded a safety. He then joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997, recording 4.5 sacks as a pass rushing specialist. Dent then retired after that year with the third most sacks in NFL history, a statistic not officially recorded until 1982.
Richard Dent has made the final 15 in the Hall Of Fame selection process four times, so his induction seems to be eminent. He has a few good things going for him in his case. One is that he played in Chicago, a noted media outlet. The second is that the great Bears defense in 1985 has only one member in Canton. Though there were several great defenders on that unit, and Wilbur Marshall may be the only other player with a legitimate shot at induction some day, Dent is most definitely the most worthy of induction, and his Chicago ties will get him faster than deserved perhaps. After watching Fred Dean get inducted, while Jim Marshall, Claude Humphrey, and others await the call, you also must take into account that most of the voters have short and selective memories these days. Though I'd personally put in Marshall and Humphrey ahead of Dent, it won't go that way most likely. Maybe if the NFL recognized sacks during those men's careers, this would not be a debate for some. Richard Dent is one of the best Defensive Ends to have ever played on Soldier Field, and his bust has probably already been made. He seems to be waiting his turn while the voters try to play catch up on all the other injustices from previous omissions. But, who really knows? We may see Dent finally inducted this year.
Notable Players Drafted in 1983 ( * denotes Hall Of Famer)
1. John Elway, QB, Baltimore Colts * 2. Eric Dickerson, RB, LA Rams * 3. Curt Warner, RB, Seattle 4. Chris Hinton, OT, Denver 6. Jimbo Covert, OT, Chicago 9. Bruce Matthews, G, Houston Oilers * 10. Terry Kinard, S, NY Giants 14. Jim Kelly, QB, Buffalo * 19. Joey Browner, S, Minnesota 20. Gary Anderson, RB, San Diego 22. Gil Byrd, CB, San Diego 24. Ken O'Brien, QB, NY Jets 26. Don Mosebar, C, Oakland 27. Dan Marino, QB, Miami * 28. Darrell Green, CB, Washington * 32. Henry Ellard, WR, LA Rams 35. Wes Hopkins, CB, Philadelphia 37. Leonard Marshall, DE, NY Giants 39. Darryl Talley, LB, Buffalo 41. Ron Brown, WR, Cleveland 42. Keith Bostic, DB, Houston 49. Roger Craig, RB, San Francisco 54. Bill Pickel, NT, Oakland 61. Albert Lewis, CB, Kansas City 64. Dave Duerson, DB, Chicago 67. Mike Cofer, LB, Detroit 84. Charles Mann, DE, Washington 101. Johnny Rembert, LB, New England 110. Greg Townsend, DE, Oakland 119. Jim Arnold, P, Kansas City 167. Reggie Roby, P, Miami 186. Carl Lee, DB, Minnesota 187. Craig James, RB, New England 202. Earnest Jackson, RB, San Diego 219. Mark Bortz, G, Chicago 223. Mark Clayton, WR, Miami 237. Ali Haji-Sheikh, K, NY Giants 276. Tim Krumrie, NT, Cincinnati 289. Jesse Sapolu, G, San Francisco 310. Karl Mecklenburg, LB, Denver 334. Anthony Carter, WR, Miami