Dan Wilkinson

Dan Wilkinson
Dan Big Daddy Wilkinson
No. 72, 95, 99     
Defensive Tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: March 13, 1973 (1973-03-13) (age 38)
Place of birth: Dayton, Ohio
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 340 lb (154 kg)
Career information
College: Ohio State
NFL Draft: 1994 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Debuted in 1994 for the Cincinnati Bengals
Last played in 2006 for the Miami Dolphins
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2006
Tackles     410
Sacks     56.5
Interceptions     11
Stats at NFL.com

Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson (born March 13, 1973 in Dayton, Ohio) is a former defensive tackle who played 13 seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, and Miami Dolphins of the National Football League. He was drafted 1st overall in the 1994 NFL Draft. He played college football at Ohio State.


College career

During Wilkinson's freshman year in 1991, Ohio State made him a redshirt and placed him on the scout team.[citation needed] At the time, Wilkinson weighed 348 pounds and played offensive tackle. During the season, he lost 48 pounds and began to play defense.[citation needed]

During his sophomore year, Wilkinson earned All-Big Ten honors after he had 46 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss, and 6.5 sacks. As a junior in 1993, Wilkinson finished with 44 tackles and 13 tackles-for-loss. He earned All-Big Ten honors and an All-American selection. He subsequently declared for the 1994 NFL Draft.

Professional career

Cincinnati Bengals

In 1994, the Bengals made Wilkinson the first No. 1 overall draft pick in franchise history. During his rookie season, he led the team with 19 quarterback hurries. He set a season-high and led the team with seven tackles against the Indianapolis Colts on November 20. During the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 20, Wilkinson volunteered to give up his starting spot so Bengals great Tim Krumrie could start his final home game. Wilkinson still made two sacks in a reserve role.

Wilkinson set a career-high with eight quarterback sacks in 1995—a total which led all AFC interior linemen that season and was the most by a Bengals interior lineman since Mike Reid in 1972. Wilkinson's 18 quarterback hurries were second on the team and he played in 829 snaps, second-most on the defensive line. He spent time at both defensive tackle positions and right defensive end. He played the first two games of the regular season with a cast on his hand after breaking his ring finger in the final preseason game. He registered two sacks and led defensive line with five tackles (all solo) in win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 10 and sacked quarterback Mark Brunell on fourth down in the final minute of the game to preserve the Bengals win. Wilkinson suffered a neck injury against the Chicago Bears on December 10 and was inactive for the final two games of the season.

Wilkinson led the Bengals in sacks for the first time in 1996 with 6.5, including one in each of the first five games, and also led the defensive line with 37 solo tackles. He led a rushing defense which allowed fewest yards per game (102.7) since the 1983 Bengals allowed 93.7. He opened the year with a season-high eight tackles, a sack and five quarterback hurries against the St. Louis Rams on September 1. He made his first career interception against the Baltimore Ravens on November 3, picking off a Vinny Testaverde pass.

In 1997, Wilkinson played much of the season at right defensive end after the Bengals converted to a 3-4 defense, totaling a team-high five sacks. He was awarded the team's defensive game ball for his play in Cincinnati’s victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 23. He missed his only game of the season against the Dallas Cowboys on December 14 with a stinger in his neck.

Washington Redskins

In December 1997, Wilkinson clashed with ownership and the city he played in. He was disappointed the Bengals didn't place the franchise tag on him during the offseason. He also called Cincinnati a "racist" city, saying its residents were "prejudiced and uptight and stiff." The remarks caused owner Mike Brown to act, and on February 26, 1998 Wilkinson was traded to the Washington Redskins.

Wilkinson was very productive during his first season in Washington, leading the team in sacks (7.5), quarterback pressures (50) and tackles-for-loss (six). His 50 quarterback pressures were 30 more than the team's No. 2 man in that category (defensive end Kenard Lang). Wilkinson set career highs in total tackles (60) and solo stops (45), playing in more snaps (1,037) than any other defensive tackle in the NFL that season. He intercepted his second career pass against Philadelphia on November 15 when he picked off the deflected pass deep in Eagles territory and ran four yards before being tackled, setting up the Redskins' first touchdown. He also performed well against the New York Giants on November 1 with 14 QB pressures, seven tackles and a pass deflection. He tied a career-high with eight tackles against the Arizona Cardinals on November 22.

Wilkinson led the Redskins with eight sacks to match his career-high from 1995 and finished second in quarterback pressures (43) in 1999. In a Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears, Redskins defensive end Marco Coleman hit Bears quarterback Shane Matthews, forcing the ball into Wilkinson's hands. He returned it (at a comfortable pace) 88 yards for a touchdown, with speedster Darrell Green escorting him most of the way.[1] The play gave the Redskins a 14-0 lead in their 48-22 win over Chicago and was the fourth-longest interception return for a score in Redskins history, the longest such return ever by a Redskins player at home and the longest return ever by a Redskins defensive lineman.

Wilkinson also racked up five tackles (three solo), two sacks, five pressures and a pass defensed at the New York Giants on September 19, when he was awarded a game ball along with the rest of the starting defensive line. He recorded a team-high nine pressures, a sack, two solos and one tackle-for-loss against the Arizona Cardinals on December 12.

In 2000, Wilkinson experienced the lowest sack total of his career at just 3.5 for the year. He made a season-high four tackles on two occasions, at the Dallas Cowboys and at Pittsburgh Steelers in consecutive weeks in mid-December. He had a season-long, nine-yard sack at the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 22.

While Wilkinson didn't post entirely impressive statistics in 2001, he made key blocks allowing other defensive players to make big plays while also contributing in other ways. His pass deflection on second-and-goal led to an interception by Otis Leverette on the one-yard line and ended a critical scoring threat by the Carolina Panthers on October 21. The Redskins went on to beat the Panthers 17-14 in overtime. Although he posted no stats in the game, Wilkinson's pressure helped hold Philadelphia's offense to only 186 total yards. On the year, Wilkinson finished with 25 tackles (19 solo), four sacks and two interceptions. His two interceptions came off Donovan McNabb and Aaron Brooks.

Wilkinson experienced his worst season as a pro in 2002, which would prove to be his last with the Redskins. He recorded one tackle against the Dallas Cowboys on November 28 before leaving the game in the third quarter with a strained right calf. He was placed on injured reserve on December 5, ending his season. In the 12 games he played, he recorded 16 tackles (12 solo) and five pass deflections. It was the first season of his career in which he did not record a sack.

Detroit Lions

During the 2003 offseason, Wilkinson voiced his preference to stay in Washington and it appeared it would happen. The team wanted him to take a pay cut, but negotiations with Wilkinson's agent fell through and he was cut by the team on July 29. Wilkinson received interest from the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots and approximately four other organizations. On August 17, he agreed to sign with the Detroit Lions.

In Wilkinson's first regular season game with the Lions against the Arizona Cardinals on September 7, he recorded three solo tackles, five quarterback hurries, two passes defensed and a nine-yard sack of quarterback Jeff Blake - the first Lions' sack of the season. His best game of the season came against the Green Bay Packer on November 27 with a sack of Brett Favre, his first fumble recovery of 2003, two quarterback pressures and a season-high six tackles (four solos). He notched a pass defense, two quarterback knockdowns and a pressure against the St. Louis Rams on December 28, helping hold the Rams’ rushing attack to just 41 yards (37 m).

Despite modest statistics (24 tackles and two sacks), Wilkinson made a significant impact on the Lions' run defense. He was named to Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s all-pro team.

In 2004, Wilkinson appeared in all 16 games for the Lions. He was a member of a defensive line unit that registered 30.5 sacks, the seventh-highest total among any front four in the NFL. The unit also started every game together during the season.

Wilkinson forced a fumble and sacked Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb for a seven-yard loss against Philadelphia on September 26. He also set a career-high with two forced fumbles during the season. He was also instrumental in the development of younger players, including Pro Bowl defensive tackle Shaun Rogers and defensive end James Hall.

In the 2005 season, Wilkinson's last with the Lions, he played in all 16 games for the third straight year. He finished the season with 26 tackles (20 solo) and three sacks - his highest total in four seasons.

He recorded two Trent Dilfer sacks at the Cleveland Browns on October 23, for a loss of 10 yards (9.1 m). His sack in the first quarter for nine yards prevented the Browns from reaching the end zone, and forced a field goal attempt. He recorded his first career safety after punter Nick Harris downed a punt on the 2-yard (1.8 m) line against the Arizona Cardinals on November 13. On the ensuing possession, he tackled Cardinals fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo in the end zone in the first quarter. Wilkinson had a sack on December 4 against Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson for a loss of seven yards to stop a potential scoring drive and force the Vikings to punt.

Miami Dolphins

During the 2006 offseason, the Lions unsuccessfully attempted to trade Wilkinson and subsequently released him on May 22. He received interest from multiple teams, and visited with the Miami Dolphins in early June. The two parties negotiated on a contract, but Wilkinson preferred to not sign until later so as not to go through the rigors of an entire training camp at his age. He officially signed a three-year deal with the team on August 14. It was officially a three-year, $6.31 million contract, although it was structured in a way that would essentially make it a one-year deal. Wilkinson received a $500,000 signing bonus and had a $810,000 in base salary in 2006. His base salary would jump to $2 million in 2007 and $2.5 million in 2008. He is due a $500,000 roster bonus in the 2008 offseason.

Wilkinson played in a reserve role most of the season behind Keith Traylor and Jeff Zgonina, battling nagging injuries and dealing with a lawsuit (see below) which caused him to miss time. In 10 games played, he recorded 13 tackles (nine solo) and three pass deflections. On December 21, Wilkinson was placed on season-ending injured reserve with knee and hamstring injuries.

In the 2007 offseason, the Dolphins attempted to trade Wilkinson to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Wilkinson failed to contact either team, and while deadlines for him to report were extended during the offseason, the trade fell through and was voided on March 31. On June 18, the Dolphins released Wilkinson.

Career transactions

  • Drafted by the Bengals in the first round (first overall) of the 1994 NFL Draft in April 1994.
  • Traded to the Redskins on February 26, 1998.
  • Released by the Redskins on July 29, 2003.
  • Signed by the Lions on August 17, 2003.
  • Released by the Lions on May 22, 2006.
  • Signed by the Dolphins on August 14, 2006.
  • Released by the Dolphins on June 18, 2007.

Legal troubles

Wilkinson has been involved in a few lawsuits since the start of his professional career. In 1996, Wilkinson pleaded no contest to the charge of domestic violence. He was subsequently found guilty of striking his pregnant girlfriend. Wilkinson's girlfriend, however, stated that she did not wish to pursue prosecution.[2]

In March 2006, Capital Centre LLC, a joint project headed by the Cordish Company and Washington Sports & Entertainment, sued Wilkinson. The suit alleged that Wilkinson was personally liable for a breach of contract related to a lease the two parties had agreed to.[3] On April 3, 2006, The Maryland federal district court issued an opinion on the validity of the case.[4]


Wilkinson attended Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio. He and his wife Shawnda are divorced and had four children: Brooklyn, Daniel Ramon Jr., Taylor, Sydné and now is re married and has had two more children Kennedy and Klarke reside in Potomac, Maryland.[5] - dead link


External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Drew Bledsoe
1st Overall Pick in NFL Draft
Succeeded by
Ki-Jana Carter

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