This week we find ourselves heading toward the halfway mark.
With ungar, roach, dz, soup and others letting their feelings be known it is obvious you can't please all the people all the time. Everyone has a reason a player should be ranked higher or lower, and most points are justified.
This time will be no exception, as off field actions tend to reflect positioning on the list again.
Thanks for the positive comments on the concept of the article.
Here are some more Fabulous Floridians, numbers 30-26:
# 30 Lomas Brown Jr.
Lomas Brown Jr. (born May 30, 1963 in Miami, Florida) is a former American football offensive tackle for the National Football League. He played college football at the University of Florida in the early 1980s, where he anchored what was dubbed "The Great Wall of Florida" in 1984. In his long professional career he played for the Detroit Lions (1985–1995), Arizona Cardinals (1996–1998), Cleveland Browns (1999), New York Giants (2000–2001), and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002), with whom he won a Super Bowl before retiring. Brown was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team seven times, every year following the 1990–96 seasons. Since his retirement he has spent some time with the NFL Network and ESPNEWS as an analyst and also co-hosts a sports radio show in Detroit for WXYT-FM.
He is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
He is currently an analyst on ESPN First Take and is a co-host of the segment "Law offices of Brooks and Brown
Offensive Tackles don't get much recognition, but playing on the line as a pro for 18 seasons and making the Pro Bowl seven times gets my vote.
#29 Isaac Bruce
Isaac Isidore Bruce (born November 10, 1972) is an wide receiver who is currently a free agent. He was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft. He played college football at Memphis State. An All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection, Bruce has amassed 14,944 receiving yards in his career (second all-time). He played the first 14 years with the Rams and won a Super Bowl ring with the team in Super Bowl XXXIV.
Bruce was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He attended Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale. As a senior, he caught 39 passes for 644 yards (16.5 yards per rec. avg.), was an All-City selection, and led his team to the 1989 Florida State 5-A Championship.
Bruce went to West Los Angeles College, then to Santa Monica College before transferring to Memphis State University in 1992, where he finished his college football career with 113 receptions for 1,586 yards (14.0 yards per rec. avg.) and 15 touchdowns. He earned a degree in physical education.
St. Louis Rams
Bruce was drafted in the 2nd round (33rd overall) by the Los Angeles Rams. He signed a 3-year $1.75 million contract with the Rams on July 14, 1994. He earned the 1994 Carroll Rosenbloom Award, given to the team rookie of the year.
His total receiving yards for 1995 (119 catches for 1,781 yards) remain second only to Jerry Rice's record of 1,848 yards for one season. Bruce's 119 catches also ranks fifth on the NFL’s all-time single-season reception list. Bruce made USA Today’s All-Joe team, All-Madden, and All-Pro by Sports Illustrated and he was voted a first alternate to the Pro Bowl. He was also awarded the Ram's MVP.
In 1996 Bruce led his team with 84 receptions and led the NFL with 1,338 yards. He became the first Rams receiver since Henry Ellard in 1990 and 1991 to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. In 1996 Bruce was also voted to his first Pro Bowl, after having been an alternate the season before.
In 1999 Bruce was a First-team All-Pro and was voted to his second Pro Bowl. He caught 77 passes for 1,165 yards and 12 touchdowns as Rams had a 13-3 record and advanced to the Super Bowl. Bruce caught Kurt Warner's 73 yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXIV to give the Rams a 23-16 lead, which turned out to be the game winner.
In 2000 Bruce was again a Pro Bowler and caught 87 passes for 1,471 yards and 9 touchdowns. He became the first Rams receiver to earn back-to-back Pro Bowl invitations since Henry Ellard accomplished the feat for the 1988-1989 seasons. That same year, Bruce and teammate Torry Holt became only the second WR duo from the same team to each gain over 1400 yards in the same season (see Herman Moore and Brett Perriman).
In 2001 the Rams returned to the Super Bowl, losing to the New England Patriots, and Bruce made the Pro Bowl for the fourth time, becoming only the third receiver in team history to earn three consecutive Pro Bowl invitations (Elroy Hirsch 1951-53, Jim Phillips 1960-62).
On February 28, 2008, Bruce was released by the Rams after refusing to take a pay cut, which the Rams promised they would not do in a previous contract renegotiation.
San Francisco 49ers
On February 29, 2008, Isaac Bruce signed a two-year, $6 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Jerry Rice gave Bruce permission to wear his No. 80, however Bruce and the team decided against it. He eventually chose to wear No. 88.
On December 21, 2008, in a game at St. Louis against his former team, the Rams, Isaac Bruce caught his 1,000th career reception - a 3-yard touchdown catch, the St. Louis fans cheered on their former wide receiver, yelling "Bruuuuuuuuce" whenever he caught a pass, and cheered when he caught his 1,000th pass.
Awards and Achievements
· 2008 - Reaches 1,000 receptions with a touchdown against his former team the St. Louis Rams. Surpassed Tim Brown to become 2nd all time in receiving yards with 14,944 receiving yards.
· 2001 - Named to play in Pro Bowl (did not play - injured)
· 2000 - Named to play in Pro Bowl (did not play - injured)
· 1999 - Super Bowl XXXIV
· 1999 - Named to play in Pro Bowl
· 1996 - Named to play in Pro Bowl
· 1995 - Recorded 119 receptions. The most ever in NFL history by a player 25 and under
· 1994 - Rams consensus Rookie of the Year
He was United Way spokesman in 1996-97 and United Way African American Leadership Giver from 1997-99. In 2008, he recorded a public service announcement and personal voice message for the RESPECT! campaign against domestic violence.
#28 Edgerrin James
Edgerrin Tyree James was born August 1, 1978 in Immokalee, Florida. He is an American football running back who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts fourth overall in the 1999 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Miami.
James ranks second in all-time University of Miami rushing yards. He was the only running back in the university's history to post two consecutive seasons with 1,000-plus rushing yards, and he ranks first in school history with the most 100-plus rushing games (14). All single season records held by James have since been broken by current Baltimore Ravens running back Willis McGahee.
Edgerrin was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame on April 23, 2009 at its 41st Annual Induction Banquet at Jungle Island in Miami.
The Indianapolis Colts selected James in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft with the fourth overall pick. James signed a seven-year, $49 million rookie contract. Many critics believed that the Colts made a mistake by choosing James over the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams.
James quieted the critics and was an immediate success, and was named the 1999 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press. James won the NFL rushing title in his first two seasons, before tearing his ACL six games into the 2001 season. After the 2002 season, where James failed to regain his form of 1999 and 2000, many believed that James would never recover from his knee injury. However, James rebounded well in 2003, and re-established his place as one of the top running backs in the NFL in 2004 and 2005, with over 1,500 rushing yards in both seasons.
James left Indianapolis as their all time leading rusher with 9,226 yards. James was given a Super Bowl ring from the Colts after he left the team in 2006, when they won Super Bowl XLI.
James signed a four-year, $30 million deal with the Cardinals on March 12, 2006 James went through a stretch of 8 games out of the 2008 season where he carried the ball only 11 times. Through this time Ken Whisenhunt, brought him in strictly as a pass protector. In the Divisional round of the playoffs, James rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals' upset victory over the heavily favored Carolina Panthers. James rushed for 73 yards in the Cardinals' 32-25 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC championship game. James rushed 9 times for 33 yards in the Cardinals' 27-23 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII.
His long-time girlfriend, the mother of his children, died of cancer in April 2009. After this, he requested his release from the team, and the Cardinals terminated his contract on April 28.
After spending the 2009 offseason grieving with his four children and declining NFL offers James finally agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks on August 24, 2009, missing the team's training camp. The team released running back T. J. Duckett to make room for James on the roster. However, James rushed for only 125 yards on a career-low 46 carries. He played in only seven games, and on 3 November 2009, Seattle cut him from the team.
James led the league in rushing during his rookie and sophomore season.
At 9,226 total yards as a Colt, James holds the Colts' team record for most career total yards rushing.
James currently resides in Miami, Florida. He has four children, Edquisha, Ehyanna, Edgerrin Jr., and Euro. On April 14th, 2009, Andia Wilson, James' long-time girlfriend and the mother of his four children, died from leukemia at the age of 30.
In 2000, James donated $250,000 to the University of Miami, the largest donation ever made to the university by one of its former athletes. The university responded by naming the football meeting room after him.
#27 Dwight Gooden
Dwight Eugene Gooden (born November 16, 1964), also known as Doc Gooden or Dr. K, is a former major league baseball player. He was one of the most dominant and feared pitchers in the National League in the middle and late 1980s, but his career declined because of injury, as well as drug and alcohol abuse.
Life and career
A native of Tampa, Florida, Gooden was drafted in the first round in 1982, the fifth player taken overall. He spent one season in the minors, in which he led the Class-A Carolina League in wins, strikeouts and ERA while playing for the Lynchburg Mets. Gooden had 300 strikeouts in 191 innings, a performance which convinced Triple-A Tidewater Tides manager, future Mets skipper Davey Johnson, that he was capable of making the unusual leap to the majors.
New York Mets
Gooden made his major-league debut on April 7, 1984 with the New York Mets at the age of 19. He quickly developed a reputation with his 98 MPH fastball and sweeping curveball, which was given the superlative nickname of "Lord Charles," in contrast with "Uncle Charlie," a common nickname for a curveball. When he took the mound in the fifth inning on July 10, 1984, Gooden became the youngest player to appear in an All-Star Game. He complimented this distinction by striking out the side, AL batters: Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon, and Alvin Davis.
As a 19-year-old rookie, Gooden set the then-major league record for strikeouts per 9 innings, with 11.39. He was voted the Rookie of The Year, giving the Mets two consecutive winners of that award (Darryl Strawberry had been the recipient in 1983). Gooden also became the third Mets pitcher to win the award, joining Tom Seaver (1967) and Jon Matlack (1972).
In 1985, Gooden pitched one of the most statistically dominating single seasons in baseball history. Leading Major League Baseball with 24 wins, 268 strikeouts, and a 1.53 ERA (the second lowest in the Live Ball Era, trailing only Bob Gibson's 1.12 in 1968) Gooden earned the major leagues' pitching Triple Crown. He led the National League in complete games (16) and innings pitched (276 2/3). From his second start onward, Gooden's ERA never rose above 2.00.
Gooden's period of dominance was memorable. In a span of 50 starts from August 11, 1984, to May 6, 1986, Gooden posted a record of 37-5 with a 1.40 ERA; he had 412 strikeouts and 90 walks in 404.6 innings.
In another All-Star record pertaining to youth, in 1986 Gooden became the youngest pitcher to start an All-Star Game at 21 years, seven months and 30 days of age.
Early drug problems and injuries
Gooden was arrested on December 13, 1986, in Tampa, Florida after fighting with police. A report clearing police of misconduct in the arrest helped start the Tampa Riots of 1987. Rumors of substance abuse began to arise, which were confirmed when Gooden tested positive for cocaine during spring training in 1987. He entered a rehabilitation center on April 1, 1987, to avoid being suspended and did not make his first start of the season until June 5. Despite missing a third of the season, Gooden won 15 games for the 1987 Mets.
In 1988, Gooden recorded an 18–9 record as the Mets returned to the postseason. In the first game of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Gooden was matched against Orel Hershiser, who had just finished the regular season with a 59-inning scoreless streak.
The 1980s Mets were considered a dynasty in the making; after they underperformed, some looked to this game as perhaps the key moment of the dynasty that wasn't. On a personal level, Gooden never won a postseason game, going 0–4 in eight series.
Gooden suffered a shoulder injury in 1989, which reduced him to a 9–4 record in 17 starts. He rebounded in 1990, posting a 19–7 season with 223 strikeouts, second only to teammate David Cone's 233. However, after another injury in 1991, Gooden's career declined significantly. Though drug abuse is commonly blamed for Gooden's pitching troubles, some analysts point to his early workload. It has been estimated that Gooden threw over 10,800 pitches from 1983-85, a period in which he was just 18 to 20 years old.
1992 was Gooden's first-ever losing season (10-13); it was also the first time he had lost as many as 10 decisions. 1993 was no improvement, as Gooden finished 12–15. During the 1993 season, Sports Illustrated ran a cover story on Gooden entitled, "From Phenom to Phantom."
In 1994 at age 29, Gooden had a 3–4 record with a 6.31 ERA when he tested positive for cocaine use and was suspended for 60 days. He tested positive again while serving the suspension, and was further suspended for the entire 1995 season. The day after receiving the second suspension, Gooden's wife, Monica, found him in his bedroom with a loaded gun to his head.
New York Yankees and three other teams
Gooden signed with the New York Yankees in 1996 as a player followed by drug and legal problems. Gooden was left off the 1996 postseason roster due to injury and fatigue. The following year, he had one start for the Yankees in the 1997 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians; coincidentally, he again faced his 1988 postseason nemesis Orel Hershiser. Gooden left Game 4 during the sixth inning with a 2–1 lead, but the Yankee bullpen faltered in the 8th and Gooden was left with the no-decision.
He pitched for three teams from 1998 to 2000 (the Cleveland Indians from 1998-1999 and the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2000) and was unconditionally released twice before signing a minor-league contract with the Yankees. Returning to the Yankees during the 2000 season, Gooden only made 5 starts.
In 1999, Gooden released an autobiography titled Heat, in which he discussed his struggles with alcohol and cocaine abuse. In 2001 after he was cut by the Yankees in spring training, ending his career with a record of 194–112. More than half of those wins came before age 25.
#26 Charlie Ward
Charlie Ward, Jr. (born October 12, 1970 in Thomasville, Georgia) is a three sports retired American professional NBA basketball player, college football Heisman Trophy winner, Davey O'Brien Award winner and a Major League Baseball draftee. By some sports media and publications Ward has received recognition for being one of the best all-around athletes in the last quarter century He was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame with Emmitt Smith and Bobby Bowden in 2006.
Ward won the 1993 Heisman Trophy and Davey O'Brien Award as a quarterback for Florida State University, and subsequently led the Seminoles to their first-ever National Championship when FSU defeated Nebraska 18–16 in the 1993 Orange Bowl. The Seminoles had suffered their only defeat of the season to a second-ranked Notre Dame team, but their path to the National Championship was cleared a week later when the Irish were upset at home by Boston College. Ward holds the second-largest margin of victory in the history of Heisman trophy balloting, with a 1,622 point difference, second only to O.J. Simpson's 1,750 point win in 1968.
He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Though Ward did not play baseball in college, he was drafted as a pitcher by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1993 free agent draft and by the New York Yankees in 1994. An avid tennis player, Ward also shined in the Arthur Ashe Amateur Tennis Tournament in 1994.
Ward also played basketball for four years at Florida State. Former teammates included future NBA players Bob Sura, Doug Edwards and Sam Cassell. His 1993 team made it to the Southeast Regional Final where they lost to Kentucky 106-81 with the winner advancing to the Final Four. Ward's 1992 team made the Sweet Sixteen. Ward still holds FSU basketball records for career steals at 236, steals in one game at 9 and still ranks sixth all-time in assists at 396. He played a shortened season his senior year, joining the basketball team just 15 days after winning the Heisman Trophy.
Upon graduation, Ward stated he was undecided about professional basketball or football and made it clear that he would not consider playing in the NFL unless selected in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft.
Instead of pursuing a career as a football player in the NFL, and having been chosen in the 1st round (26th overall) of the 1994 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, he began his career in the NBA as a point guard. An inquiry was made during Ward's rookie year with the Knicks to become the backup quarterback for Joe Montana of the Kansas City Chiefs, but Ward declined.
Ward played sparingly in his rookie year under head coach Pat Riley, but the Knicks organization referred to him as "the point guard of the future." When assistant coach Jeff Van Gundy took over the head coaching position, Ward's time on the floor began to increase, becoming the primary backup for point guard Derek Harper. He became a fan favorite in New York for his hard work ethic and unselfish play. During his NBA career, Ward established himself as a good three-point shooter, a reliable ball distributor, and a respected floor leader.
Ward was selected to participate in the 1998 NBA All-Star three-point competition, finishing fourth in the event. He soon helped the Knicks reach the 1999 NBA Finals before falling to the San Antonio Spurs. Ward was traded to the Phoenix Suns in February 2004 as part of the blockbuster trade that brought Stephon Marbury to the Knicks and was promptly cut by the Suns for salary purposes.
Off the court, Ward is known for his extensive charitable work through groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
During game 5 of the 1997 NBA playoffs against the Miami Heat, with the Knicks leading 3-1, Ward appeared to intentionally take out P.J. Brown when he dived towards his legs after a loose ball. Brown retaliated by lifting up Ward and body slamming him. This resulted in a bench-clearing brawl where five Knicks players, including starters Patrick Ewing, John Starks and Larry Johnson and Ward himself, were suspended for the rest of the series. Miami won the game and the next two games and moved on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
In June 2007, Ward was hired as an assistant coach for the varsity boys basketball team by Westbury Christian School in Houston, Texas. He was previously an assistant coach for the Houston Rockets. In addition, Ward, in November 2007, accepted the job as Head Football Coach for the varsity football team at Westbury Christian School.