HOF Profile: Curley Culp

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In 2011 Shannon Sharpe was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player caught in between two different positions. Sharpe was considered too slow to be a wide receiver but too small to be a tight end. He proved everyone wrong when he became one of the best tight ends in the NFL and would have a hall of fame career. The Hall of Fame will elect another player much like this in Curley Culp. The 6’2” 265 lbs Culp was not so much a linebacker and not so much a defensive lineman. The NFL is all about size and shape when they look at players as they concentrate on measurable more than talent sometimes. Players regularly get overlooked if they are too short or too heavy, or event not heavy enough for their chosen position. The thought is that the NFL contains the biggest and baddest athletes in the world and to compete, every player entering the NFL has to be bigger and badder. Left behind are some very talented, yet smaller, players who do not get a chance. Those players that don’t fit in any one position have been missed time and time again but every now and then one makes it through and finds his place. When this happens it takes a lot to go right to get one of these players to have a great career including a coach that can see talent. These coaches have to look at a player like Curley Culp and see that there is something there that can be special. Stuck in between two different positions Culp would find a home in Kansas City where Hank Stram and Tom Bettis could see something in him. With the vote of confidence Curley Culp would become a key part to a dominating defence.

Culp would be drafted by the Denver Broncos who tried to convert him to an Offensive guard where his size would not be much of an issue. The experiment didn’t work and they would trade him to the Kansas City Chiefs before he stepped on to the field for the Broncos. On the Chiefs, Culp would get a chance to play his natural position at defensive tackle. It became and even stranger choice when you realize that the Chiefs played a 3-4 defence, one of the originals, meaning Culp was the not-so-big-man on the inside. Still Culp would do what he needed to do to get through the line and get to the QB. Using a wrestling background from College to get through the line and cause plenty of pressure to disturb his opponents. Although sack stats were not officially kept when Culp played estimates claim he had 68 sacks and 14 forced fumbles. He may not have been the stature of what many would think of a nose tackle but the strength he had would make him one of the best. Now he enters the Hall of Fame as another player who may not have fit in a mold of the NFL but used what he had to make an impression in one of the best defences of all time.

 

Curley Culp, DT (1968-1981)
6’2” 265 lbs
Kansas City Chiefs & Houston Oilers (7 years each)
68 Sacks*
14 FF*
10 FR*
– Super Bowl IV Champion
– 5 Time Pro Bowl Selection (1971, 1975-78)
– 1975 NEA Defensive Player of the Year
– Also played with Detroit Lions

*Unofficial

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