Kenneth Gant

Kenneth Gant
No. 29
Position: Safety
Personal information
Date of birth: (1967-04-18) April 18, 1967
Place of birth: Bartow, Florida
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 187 lb (85 kg)
Career information
High school: Lakeland (FL) Kathleen
College: Albany State (GA)
NFL Draft: 1990 / Round: 9 / Pick: 221
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games: 113
Interceptions: 7
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Kenneth Dwayne Gant (born April 18, 1967) is a former American professional football athlete. He played the safety position while in the National Football League teams Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His nickname with the Cowboys was "The Shark". On the field, Gant had most of his impact on special teams, however, Cowboys fans remember him mostly for his celebratory antics called "The Shark Dance".

Early life

Gant was born in Bartow and attended Kathleen High School in Lakeland, Florida. He received a scholarship to play college football at Albany State University, where although he came in as an offensive player, he was converted to the defensive side and became a four-year starter at cornerback.[1]

As a junior he recorded 55 tackles, 3 sacks and 6 passes defensed. He registered 5 interceptions as a senior and finished his college career with 14 interceptions and 15 passes defensed.[2]

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

Gant was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the ninth round (221st overall) of the 1990 NFL draft. During training camp he was tried at cornerback, but the team eventually moved him to safety. As a rookie, he quickly became one of the best players on the special teams units.

In 1991, from his gunner position, he led the Cowboys special teams with 25 tackles. By 1992 he was a key part of the team's nickel defense, that led the NFL in preventing third-down conversions, allowing opponents a conversion rate of 27.2 percent. He also finished with 9 quarterback pressures, tied for the team lead in interceptions (3) and led all reserve players in total tackles (54). In 1993, he was third on the team with 17 special teams tackles.[3]

Gant is considered to be one of the best special teams players in franchise history, while he was a member of the Cowboys Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII championship teams, both against the Buffalo Bills. He was nicknamed "The Shark" because during the 1992 season, before every kickoff and after making big plays, he would perform a celebratory dance dubbed "The Shark Dance". Typically, he would strut around, flapping his elbows while holding his hand over his head to simulate a shark's dorsal fin, a move that he learned from teammate Kevin Smith, who called it "the Shark Fin" from his days at Texas A&M University, where defensive backs used it to celebrate.[4]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In 1995, he signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who were looking to improve their special teams and nickel defense. He was waived on November 28, 1997.[5] Gant finished his career after three seasons with the Buccaneers, he ranked second on the team in special teams tackles (11) in 1995 and third (11) in 1996.

Personal life

He was married and has two children.[6] He resided in Tampa, Florida, where he worked at a warehouse.[6]


  1. Ellis, Jennifer (20 September 1995). "Football player stresses hard work". The Ledger. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  2. Associated Press (24 April 1990). "Cowboys Shore-Up Defensive Corps". The Victoria Advocate. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  3. "Both sides seek special delivery". Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  4. MONKOVIC, Toni (18 September 2008). "'Boys Will Be Boys,' an Excerpt". The Fifth Down. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  5. New York Times Staff (29 November 1997). "Transactions". New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  6. 1 2 Mullenax, Steven (30 August 2011). "Whatever happened to the dancing Kenny "The Shark" Gant?". The Landry Hat. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
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