American football player
Playing for the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks, John Randle was a leading defensive tackle in the 1990s. Though small for a defensive tackle in this time period (only 6'1" and 267 lbs.), he once played in 176 consecutive games and started in 140 consecutive games. Randle also had eight consecutive seasons in which he had at least ten quarterback sacks, and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl six times.
Randle was born on December 12, 1967, in Hearne, Texas, where he and his older brother Ervin (who was also a football player who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1985-92) were raised by their single mother, Martha. His mother was employed as a maid, and Randle grew up very poor. The family lived in a shack until he was a senior in high school.
It was not until Randle began attending Hearne High School that he began to play football, following in the steps of his brother. At Hearne High, he was both an offensive and defensive lineman. Randle was also a member of the track team. Because of his poor SAT scores, however, he had to go the junior college route.
Plays College Football
After spending two years at Trinity Valley Community College, Randle entered Texas A & M in Kingsville, a Division II school. As a senior in 1990, he earned Little All-America honors, and graduated with a degree in sociology.
Signs With the Vikings as Free Agent
During the 1990 NFL draft Randle was not selected in part because of his small size for the position he played. His play at Texas A & M did merit a workout with the Atlanta Falcons, but they declined to sign him because they believed he was out of shape. A week later, the Minnesota Vikings invited him to training camp, and Randle was later signed to a free agent contract. He played his heart out to prove his value to the team.
It took several seasons for Randle to emerge as a defensive force. In 1990, he only had one quarterback sack. In 1991, Randle started eight games and had 8.5 sacks. By 1992, he established himself as solid player and began his consecutive game start streak. Randle proved his worth as a leader in quarterback sacks and forcing fumbles.
Though Randle continued to post improved numbers in the mid-1990s, it was not until 1996 that he had a break-out season. This was due in part to a coaching change, but also to Randle's emerging approach to the game. He began to trash talk more on the field, getting into his opponents' heads. Randle also would paint his face, and developed his own physical pre-game ritual.
Randle continued to improve in 1997, with a career-high 15.5 sacks, the most in the NFL that season. Though he was a great defensive player, he had more to offer with his instinctual, relentless play that wore down offenses. Paula Parrish in the Star Tribune wrote, "his bigger contributions, according to teammates and his defensive coordinator, continued to be the intangibles—his leadership, his electricity, his experience."
In 1998, Randle became a free agent, but was the Vikings' designated transition player. (That is, Minnesota had the right to match any offer Randle received.) He had a hard time getting a deal done with the Vikings, and considered signing with the Miami Dolphins, among other teams. Randle ended up signing a five-year deal worth $32.5 million with $20 million guaranteed. This was the largest contract ever for a defensive lineman.
During the first season of his contract, Randle only had 10.5 sacks (his lowest number in years) and was not chosen to play in the Pro Bowl. In 2000-01, Randle was still playing relatively well, but had a disappointing season with only eight sacks and 31 tackles. Though he was sometimes double and triple-teamed, some observers believed his skills were in decline.
Randle believed his career was incomplete without a Super Bowl ring and believed that Minnesota was not progressing in that direction. Because the Vikings wanted to give him a pay cut, he asked to be traded. Instead, the team released him. When his career in Minnesota ended after 2000-01 season, he had recorded the third most sacks, with 114, and the third most fumbles caused, with 24, in team history.
Signs with Seattle
In 2001, Randle was signed by the Seattle Seahawks. The team's coach and general manager, Mike Holmgren , had previously been the coach of the Green Bay Packers, a team Randle excelled against. Randle signed a five-year deal worth $25 million, including a $5 million signing bonus.
Randle immediately proved his worth, with a great 2001 season. He had 11 sacks, and went to the Pro Bowl. He began the 2002 season on the injured list recovering from knee surgery—his first major injury—but played well during the rest of the season. The injury brought his consecutive game streak to an end at 140. Randle led the Seahawks with seven sacks in 12 games.
Randle's stretch of eight consecutive seasons where he recorded ten or more sacks was the second most in NFL history after Reggie White . Coach Holmgren told Chuck Carlson of the Capital Times, "He's got a lot of energy. He's the type of player you want on your team because his motor is so great, his heart is so great and he goes 150 percent all the time. Everybody wants guys like that."
|1967||Born December 12, in Hearne, Texas|
|1989||Daughter Brittany born on October 10; married wife Rosie|
|1990||Graduates from Texas A&I earns Little All-America honors; signs with the Minnesota Vikings|
|1992||Begins a consecutive game starter streak on November 29|
|1996||Divorces wife Rosie|
|1997-98||Leads NFL in sacks with 15.5|
|1998||Signs largest deal ever for a defensive lineman with Vikings|
|2001||Released by Vikings; signs with the Seattle Seahawks; marries Candace on February 14|
Awards and Accomplishments
|1990||Earns Little All-America honors|
|1993-98, 2001||Plays in Pro Bowl|
|2000||Chosen as starting tackle on the NFL Team of the Decade by the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Selection Committee|
Address: c/o Seattle Seahawks, 11220 NE 53rd St., Kirkland, WA 98033.
Allen, Percy. "Knee Injury Ends Randle's Streak at 140. #x201D; Seattle Times, (November 12, 2001): D6.
Allen, Percy. "Seahawks Quickly Get Handle on Randle." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, (March 4, 2001).
Banks, Don. "A Method to His Madness." Star Tribune, (January 3, 1998): 1C.
Banks, Don. "Randle Becomes $32. Million Man." Star Tribune, (February 18, 1998): 1C.
Banks, Don. "Randle Visits Eager Dolphins." Star Tribune, (February 17, 1998): 4C.
Banks, Don. "Unsettled, Randle proves to be Quite Unsettling." Star Tribune, (September 22, 1998): 1C.
Barreiro, Dan. "Randle has Reasons to Smile These Days." Star Tribune, (July 26, 2000): 1C.
Bruscas, Angelo. "Can't Hold Candle to Randle." Seattle Post-Intelligencer, (December 30, 2002): D8.
Bruscas, Angelo. "Energizer Charging Hawks Randle's Return Should Provide Lift for Defense." Seattle Post-Intelligencer, (October 12, 2002): D4.
Carlson, Chuck. "Vikings' Randle Backs Talk." Capital Times, (November 28, 1997): 1B.
Ditrani, Vinny. "Vikes' Lineman Has a Big Bite." The Record, (December 27, 1997): S2.
Farnsworth, Clare. "Randle is Too Hard to Handle." Seattle Post-Intelligencer, (July 31, 2001): C1.
Hartman, Sid. "Randle Says It's Time to Start Over." Star Tribune, (March 4, 2001): 3C.
Jensen, Sean. "Roving Randle Keeps Vikings' Opponents Guessing." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, (October 10, 2000).
King, Peter. "Home Free." Sports Illustrated, (March 2, 1998): 74.
Parrish, Paula. "Randle Again Looms Large." Star Tribune, (September 23, 1996): 12C.
Powell, Jaymes. "John Randle's Sack Milestone Just Part of a Package." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, (November 13, 1999).
Reusse, Patrick. "High Expectations Not New for Randle." Star Tribune, (August 8, 1998): 1C.
Reusse, Patrick. "Randle: He Keeps Going and Going…" Star Tribune, (November 19, 1998): 1C.
Williamson, Bill. "Randle Seeks Trade After Poor Season." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, (January 31, 2001).
Williamson, Bill. "Vikings Expected to Release Randle." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, (February 28, 2001).
Youngblood, Kent. "One Speed." Star Tribune, (August 2, 1999): 1C.
Youngblood, Kent. "Positively Pumped Up." Star Tribune (April 29, 2000): 1C.
Youngblood, Kent. "Stats Don't Reflect Randle's Solid Play." Star Tribune, (September 13, 2000): 1C.
"Green, Vikings Agree to Buyout." ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=1305597&type=news (January 25, 2003).
"John Randle." ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/stats?statsId=1422 (January 13, 2003).
"John Randle." NFL.com. http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/4128/bios (January 13, 2003).
Sketch by A. Petruso
|MIN: Minnesota Vikings; SEA: Seattle Seahawks.|