Dick LeBeau has enjoyed a long and illustriously successful career as both a player and coach. LeBeau is the 13th Lions player who played at least four seasons with the team to become a Hall of Famer, and their 18th total. At 72, LeBeau still appears to have several productive years ahead of him within the NFL, too.
Lebeau intercepted 62 passes (good for 8th all-time) and started 171 straight games. He is the Lions all-time interceptions leader.
A widely-held perception is that Jauron benefited from playing alongside other Lions Hall of Famers Dick “Night Train” Lane, Lem Barney and Yale Lary, which gave him more opportunities for interceptions, since teams wanted to avoid throwing against his more highly-acclaimed teammates.
Here is Joe Schmidt, on that topic, from the Detroit Free Press:
“Dick wasn’t blessed with great speed,” said Joe Schmidt, another Hall of Famer, who played linebacker with LeBeau and later coached him with the Lions. “I think everybody felt they could take advantage of him.”
“His shrewdness and his intelligence and his knowledge of the game and knowing what they were trying to do to him all the time helped him intercept all those passes,” Schmidt said
LeBeau, rather than completely basking in his own personal success, took the time to mention that a couple of his former teammates were also worthy of Hall of Fame consideration too.
“I think Alex (Karras) was a great player,” LeBeau said. “I think Wayne Walker was a great, great player.”
Beyond these two players, and potentially, but highly unlikely, current and former Lions players like Jason Hanson, Herman Moore, Mel Gray and Robert Porcher, it will be a very long time before the Lions see another player inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
“Bullet” Bill Dudley Former
Lion and NFL Hall of Famer
“Bullet” Bill Dudley recently passed away at age 88. He played three seasons for the Lions and was a dynamic multi-threat player, who despite his physical limitations (height, lack of speed) was able to thrive in the NFL and become a Hall of Famer.
In many ways, Dudley was the template for game-breaking versatile players like Percy Harvin, Reggie Bush, and Devin Hester, except he was not a specialist, and he was a two-way player, more remarkably.
In Dudley’s first season as a Lion, he scored 11 touchdowns. The manner in which he did so is most remarkable: one punt return, one interception return, seven pass receptions and two rushes.
Players like Dudley and LeBeau are the type of players Lions fans have always loved and have been sorely lacking during the Lions 3-37 run in their last 40 games.