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February 3, 2008
Tip of the cap to "Tipp"
GLENDALE -- Good news to hear that Andre Tippett, who starred at linebacker for the Patriots from 1982 through 1993, was elected Saturday to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It was as a pass rusher that "Tipp" truly excelled. Big linemen could block him -- if they could get their hands on him. And that was a very big "if." He would line up wide of the tackle and blow past them with his tremendous speed off the line. Even if a tackle could move into position to block him, Tippett's skills as a black belt in karate enabled him to fend off a would-be blocker's efforts to get his hands on him. Pity the poor running back who found himself trying to stop Tippett from getting to the quarterback. A running back was simply no match for Tippett's combination of speed and power. The only way to control him was to double-team him at the line of scrimmage with a tight end and tackle, then keep a running back in reserve, in hopes that, by the time three players had taken a shot at him, the quarterback would have gotten rid of the ball.
A second-round draft choice out of the University of Iowa, Tippett was a five-time Pro Bowler, from 1984 through '88. The team's career sack leader, with 100, he set a club record with 18.5 in 1984, racked up 16.5 in '85, and had 12.5 in '87.
He joins John Hannah, one of the two or three greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, Mike Haynes, and Nick Buoniconti as former Patriots to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Only Hannah and Tippett spent their entire careers in New England.
Posted by Jim Donaldson at 3:04 PM | Permalink