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Ronnie Lott

From Academic Kids

Ronald Mandel "Ronnie" Lott (born May 8, 1959 in Albuquerque, New Mexico) is a former American football player who starred as a cornerback, free safety and strong safety in college football and the NFL.

Lott graduated from the University of Southern California in 1981 with a degree in public administration. During his years of play as a safety at USC (1977-80), he helped the team to a share of the 1978 national championship and played in the 1979 and 1980 Rose Bowls. Lott was a unanimous All-American and team captain in 1980. He was inducted in 2002 as one of 15 new members (I-A class) of the College Football Hall of Fame, and was also a 1995 inductee to the USC Athletic Hall of Fame.

After college, Lott was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1st round (8th overall pick) of the 1981 NFL draft. The level of skill demonstrated by the 6-foot, 203-pound standout was instantly recognized, and from the very beginning of training camp he had the job as the 49ers' starting left cornerback. In his first season, he helped the 49ers to win Super Bowl XVI, and also became only the second rookie in NFL history to return three interceptions for touchdowns. His outstanding play resulted in his finishing second for Rookie of the Year honors, behind Lawrence Taylor.

He switched to the safety position in 1985. A 1986 injury sidelined him for the season's last two games, but he still led the league with a career-best 10 interceptions while recording 77 tackles, three forced fumbles, and two quarterback sacks. In his 10 years with the 49ers, he helped them to win 8 division titles and 4 Super Bowls: XVI (1981 season), XIX (1984), XXIII (1988), and XXIV (1989).

After his career with San Francisco, he signed as a free agent in 1991 with the Los Angeles Raiders, and in 1993 with the New York Jets. In 1991 he led the league in interceptions for a second time. He returned to the 49ers in 1995, but the injuries he had suffered over the previous four seasons continued to plague him, and he announced his retirement before the season began. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000, his first year of eligibility, and was also named to the NFL's 75th anniversary team.

Other facts

  • 10-time Pro Bowl selection (1981-84, 1986-91)
  • High school - Eisenhower (Rialto, California)
  • The 49ers retired his number #42 in 2003
  • Once had part of his little finger amputated during a game after getting it caught in a player's face mask.
  • His devastating hit against Ickey Woods was one of the early turning points of Super Bowl XXIII.

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