Tony Tolbert

For the singer, songwriter and producer of the same name, see Lo-Key?
Tony Tolbert
No. 92
Position: Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1967-12-29) December 29, 1967
Place of birth: Tuskegee, Alabama
Career information
College: Texas-El Paso
NFL Draft: 1989 / Round: 4 / Pick: 85
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Sacks: 59
Interceptions: 1
Games played: 144
Player stats at

Anthony Lewis Tolbert (born December 29, 1967) is a former American football defensive end in the National Football League. He was raised in Englewood, New Jersey, and graduated from Dwight Morrow High School.[1] Tolbert was drafted in 4th round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Tolbert made the Pro Bowl in 1996 after recording 12 quarterback sacks.

Early days

Tolbert grew up in Englewood, New Jersey and graduated from Dwight Morrow High School, before accepting a scholarship to play at the University of Texas-El Paso.

He was light for a defensive end (6 feet 2 inches and 175 pounds as a freshman), but developed into a pass rusher when he became a starter as a junior.

His best year was his senior season, when he tied a school record with 11 sacks, made 101 tackles and earned All-WAC honors. UTEP's 1988 team is the winningest football team in school history with 10 wins. It also clinched an Independence Bowl bid, where they lost 38-18 to Southern Mississippi University.

He graduated in 1991 with a degree in criminal justice. In 2014, he was named to the UTEP football Centennial team.[2]

Professional career

Tolbert was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 1989 NFL Draft out of the University of Texas-El Paso. He was a low draft selection, because coming out of college he was what they called a tweener (Not fast enough to play linebacker and too light to be a defensive end). He ended up, not just having a long career, but also excelling.

He broke into the starting lineup at left defensive end in 1990, and remained there for all nine of his seasons with the Cowboys.

As a defensive end for the Cowboys from 1989-1997, he played an important role in the Cowboys' rise to prominence in the 90's and their three Super Bowl victories. Tolbert became one of the stalwarts, on one of the best defenses of the 90's. During that time, he teamed up with Charles Haley to become one of the top pass-rushing duos in the NFL.

Although he came into the league as a pass rush specialist, he developed into an effective run stopper, making him the leading tackler among Cowboy defensive linemen for seven straight years.

Tolbert played with chronic knee pain through the final years of his career, because of a degenerative knee condition. He was a Pro Bowler in 1996, when he had a career high of 12 sacks and 85 tackles.

Despite playing in pain, Tolbert started all 16 games in 1997, compiled five sacks and led all Cowboys defensive linemen in tackles for the seventh consecutive season, with 60. Tolbert's five sacks were the most on the team that year.

He was released after the 1997 season because of his declining performance while playing on aching knees. This happened only a year after he was selected to his first Pro Bowl team.

During his career, he recorded 59 quarterback sacks in 128 games played over the course of 9 seasons, plus he returned his only interception 54 yards for a touchdown.

He had more sacks during the 90s than any other Cowboy player.

Personal life

Ten years after he retired, he had knee-replacement surgery on both knees, the result of seven knee surgeries during his nine-year career.


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