Dick LeBeau honored for 50 years in the NFL Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was honored prior to the Steelers-Bengals game for his 50 years of service in the NFL as a player and coach.
LeBeau received the award on the field before kickoff from Dan Rooney, Art Rooney, II and Mike Kensil, Director of Football Operations & Special Projects for the NFL.
LeBeau has made numerous contributions to the NFL and is the architect of the famous zone blitz defense.
Dick LeBeau begins the fifth year of his second tour of duty with the Steelers, for whom he experienced much success during the mid-1990s as both the team’s defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator.
Considered the architect of the Steelers’ famed “zone blitz,” LeBeau was named the Steelers’ defensive coordinator Jan. 16, 2004, after spending the 2003 season with the Buffalo Bills. He is one of six assistant coaches who remained on Pittsburgh’s staff following Mike Tomlin’s hiring in January, 2007.
His impact on the coaching staff was profound as the Steelers returned to the top of the NFL in total defense and rushing defense. In 2005, LeBeau’s defensive game plans played an integral part in stopping four of the NFL’s top five offenses in the AFC playoffs, including limiting Seattle to just 10 points in Super Bowl XL.
He continued his success in 2007 as he helped the defense finish the season first in overall defense, third in pass defense and third against the run.
LeBeau, 70, has been involved in the NFL for 49 years, 14 as a player and the past 35 as a coach. Prior to his return to Pittsburgh, LeBeau served one year as the assistant head coach with the Buffalo Bills and the previous two-plus years as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.
After six seasons in Pittsburgh from 1992-96, when he coached the secondary (1992-94) and then was defensive coordinator (1995-96), LeBeau returned to Cincinnati as the Bengals’ assistant head coach/defensive coordinator (1997-2000). He was later promoted to head coach Sept. 25, 2000, (after three games) and served in that capacity for two more seasons.
LeBeau began his coaching career as a special teams coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1973-75. He also was an assistant coach at Green Bay (1976-79) and Cincinnati (1980-83), before serving his first term as the Bengals’ defensive coordinator from 1984-91.
Prior to entering the coaching ranks, LeBeau produced an outstanding pro career from which he still holds the NFL all-time record of 171 consecutive games for a cornerback and currently is tied for seventh all-time in the NFL with 62 career interceptions. His nine interceptions in 1970 led the NFC and his 62 career interceptions ranked third in the NFL at the time of his retirement. LeBeau also appeared in three Pro Bowls.
PLAYER BIO – DETROIT LIONS
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 185
Pro Bowls: 3 (1965-67)
When it comes to picks by Lions defenders, cornerback Dick LeBeau stands on top in Lions history. From 1959-72, LeBeau, who was well-known for his ability to anticipate and break on the ball, recorded 62 interceptions for 762 yards and three touchdowns. His 62 picks are the most by a player in Lions history, and they are tied for seventh all-time in NFL history. The 762 interception return yards ranks third all-time in team history. He not only was productive in picking off opponent passers, but LeBeau was one of the most durable players in team history. From 1959-72, he played in 185 games which is fourth all-time in team history, and he is third all-time for the most seasons played (14). LeBeau holds the NFL record for consecutive games played by a cornerback with 171. During his career, he earned three trips to the Pro Bowl from 1965-67. In 1970, LeBeau established a career-high nine interceptions, which are tied for sixth on the team’s all-time single-season interceptions list. He was a major defensive contributor to the Lions finishing with a 10-4 record that season. The Lions finished second in the NFC Central and earned a berth in the playoffs. LeBeau was acquired by the Lions as a free agent after being released by Cleveland in training camp prior to his rookie season. LeBeau was drafted by the Brown in the fifth round of the 1959 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, and, while in college, he was a member of the Buckeyes 1956 National Championship team.