Cornelius Bennett

Cornelius Bennett
No. 55, 97
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1965-08-25) August 25, 1965
Place of birth: Birmingham, Alabama
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High school: Birmingham (AL) Ensley
College: Alabama
NFL Draft: 1987 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played: 206
Games started: 204
Tackles: 1,190
Quarterback sacks: 71.5
Interceptions: 7
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Cornelius O'Landa Bennett (born August 25, 1965) is a former American football linebacker who played for the Buffalo Bills from 1987 to 1995, Atlanta Falcons from 1996 to 1998, and the Indianapolis Colts from 1999 to 2000. Bennett was a five-time Pro Bowler, being elected in 1988, and 19901993, and won the AFC Defensive Player of the Year award twice (1988 and 1991).

Early years

Bennett was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He played halfback and several other positions while attending Ensley High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Bennett was an excellent basketball and baseball player during his high school career. Bennett was an all-state performer his senior year, amassing over 1000 yards while carrying the ball 101 times. Bennett was nicknamed "Biscuit" by friends because he always had room for one more.[1]

College career

Bennett played for the University of Alabama from 1983–1986. Bennett was a first selection on the College Football All-America Team 3 times (1984–1986). He is one of only two Alabama players to be named to three All-America teams, the other being fellow linebacker Woodrow Lowe. As a senior, he won the Lombardi Award, SEC Player of the Year honors, and finished 7th in balloting for the Heisman Trophy. In his 4 seasons there, Bennett recorded 287 tackles, 21½ sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries. His most famous play was in 1986 when he leveled Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein, immortalized in a painting by artist Daniel Moore titled simply, ‘The Sack.’[2] In 2005, Bennett was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Professional career

L. T.'s in a class all by himself. I'll put L. T. first, then Tippett, and Bennett behind him.
Jets fullback Roger Vick, ranking the NFL's best pass rushers during the 1988 season.[3]

After his college career, he was selected by the Colts with the second pick of the 1987 NFL Draft. This draft was deemed the "Year of Linebacker", but Bennett was considered to stand "head-and-shoulders above the rest."[4] Bennett was Alabama's highest draft selection since Joe Namath in 1965, and as of 2015 remains the highest selected Crimson Tide defender ever.

Bennett and the Colts were unable to come to an agreement on a contract. Bennett was then dealt to the Bills from the Colts in a three way trade that also included Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson, and Bills running back Greg Bell. This trade occurred in the fall of the 1987 season, just before the trade deadline, and has been called "the trade of the decade" by the New York Times.[5]

In the NFL, Bennett's talent at the left outside linebacker position helped the teams he played for to five Super Bowl appearances (four with Buffalo and one with Atlanta), but they lost them all (an NFL record he shares with Glenn Parker [6]). In his 14 NFL seasons, he recorded 71½ sacks, 7 interceptions, 112 return yards, 31 forced fumbles, 27 fumble recoveries, 78 fumble return yards, and 3 touchdowns (1 interception, 1 fumble return and 1 blocked field goal return).

At the time of his retirement, his 27 defensive fumble recoveries were the third most in NFL history.

Bennett was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Bennett is a cousin of Marquise Hill.


Bennett lives in Hollywood, Florida, with his second wife Kimberly Bennett.[7]

In May 2010, Bennett announced he will donate his brain for a study of long-term brain injuries resulting from football-related injuries.[8]


Further reading

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