PFHOF Profile: Orlando Pace

2336101_orlando-pace_1There are always those players in any sport that are just dominant athletes throughout their entire careers.

When someone starts playing a sport it is never a guarantee that they will make it as they need a certain level of talent to go along with the work ethic needed to be great.

Every now and then a player comes along that has the size, the athletic ability, and the work ethic to be great.

These players are the type of players that are constantly in demand at every level with NFL teams watching them closely from high school and into college.

Players like this are constantly under pressure though as they also have to meet the expectations laid upon them.

When it comes to football in America that pressure is only bigger with the sport so ingrained in the culture.

From an early age, kids are playing football and all are expected to go places, like with most other sports.

For so many of the players, it is a chance to get an education or get out of a rough spot in life by finding their way to the NFL and a big payday.

It can be a lot of pressure for anyone but when the talent and the ability is there the pressure is even greater.

Those players have little excuse to not get to where they want to be as they have been given everything they need to be successful.

That pressure can make some crumble though as there are endless stories of amazing talents never making it out of their hometown.

Whether it be a lack of work ethic, an injury that they couldn’t come back from, or the inability to handle the pressure, the amount of players that “could have been” grows every year.

Not everyone falls under the pressure though as some can meet those expectations and find their way to every level with plenty of success.

One of those players was Orlando Pace, who from the start of his football career always seemed to be headed to the Hall of Fame.

In high school, he was a two-sport athlete but football was always his best as he played on both sides of the ball.

During his senior season, he was named an All-American on both the offensive and the defensive line.

St. Louis Rams v Arizona Cardinals

He decided to stay close to his home of Sandusky, Ohio accepting a scholarship to Ohio State University.

While with the Buckeyes he became the second true freshman to start on the offensive line on opening day.

Following the theme of being that talented player that was always going to be great, he won the Lombardi Trophy twice as the NCAA’s top lineman or linebacker in 1995 and 1996 while also taking the Outland Trophy in 1996 as the NCAA’s best interior lineman.

He also found himself in the running for the Heisman Trophy in 1996 finishing fourth, the second-highest finish by a lineman ever.

While with Ohio State Pace popularised the term pancake referring to when an offensive lineman puts a defensive lineman on his back.

The success in college translated to the NFL where he was selected by the St. Louis Rams first overall in 1997.

From that moment on he was the linchpin on the Rams’ line playing left tackle and earning 7 Pro Bowl selections.

Pace always knew his value as well which to some was frustrating as he regularly held out for better contracts.

Pace was one of the first left tackles who knew just how important the left tackle position was in the NFL.

To him, it was a skilled position because he always had to go up against the best player on the defence and protect his quarterback’s blindside.

He knew that without a left tackle the offence can fall apart and his holdouts expressed that as he always wanted to get paid what he believed he deserved.

There was never a time when Pace was not considered one of the best in the game.

From high school to the pros he was always one of the best players on the field and as his career developed there was little question that he was headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That is exactly where he has ended up as he joins the best in the game as one of the most dominant players in the game.

opace.fw

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