Ronald Mandel Lott (born May 8, 1959) is a former American professional football player who was a cornerback, free safety, and strong safety in the National Football League (NFL) for fourteen seasons during the 1980s and 1990s.
|Born:||May 8, 1959|
Albuquerque, New Mexico
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||203 lb (92 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||1981 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Lott played college football for the University of Southern California (USC), and was honored as a consensus All-American. A first-round pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, he played for the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Jets, and Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL. Lott was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000, and is widely considered to be one of the best of all time at the safety position in NFL history and one of the best players in NFL history.
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lott's father Roy served in the U.S. Air Force for twenty years. The family later lived in Washington, D.C. and then southern California. He attended Frisbie Junior High and Eisenhower High School in Rialto, just west of San Bernardino, where he played football under Coach Bill Christopher and graduated in 1977. Lott considered his time at Eisenhower the best years of his life.
It is commonly thought that he was the best player on his team, he started as a wide receiver in 1974 as a sophomore, at both wide receiver and safety as a junior, and at both quarterback and safety as a senior in 1976. The football stadium was recently named after Lott, even though he never played in the stadium. Lott was also the winner of the 1977 Ken Hubbs Award, given to the greater San Bernardino area's top male high school athlete.
Lott graduated from the University of Southern California in 1981 with a degree in public administration. As a sophomore in 1978, he helped the Trojans to a share of the national championship with a win in the Rose Bowl; they finished second in the polls in 1979 and again won the Rose Bowl. Lott was a unanimous All-American and team captain in 1980, recording eight interceptions and 166 return yards. In 2002, he was inducted as one of fifteen new members (I-A class) of the College Football Hall of Fame. He was also a 1995 inductee to the USC Athletic Hall of Fame.
Upon entering USC, Lott and teammate and future NFL star Marcus Allen were both considered for the tailback and safety positions. After much consideration, head coach John Robinson asked Lott to play defense because he was a better tackler than Allen. He was also supposedly one of the reasons that USC teammate Riki Ellison got into the NFL after he and Jerry Attaway (their USC conditioning coach) convinced Bill Walsh to take a chance on him.
Lott was selected in the first round (8th overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. 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 rookie season in 1981, he recorded seven interceptions, 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 New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
Lott switched to the safety position in 1985. He had the tip of his left pinky finger amputated after the 1985 season when it was crushed by tackling running back Timmy Newsome, and a bone graft surgery would not have allowed him to start the 1986 season. An injury sidelined him for the season's last two games in 1986, 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, Lott helped them win eight division titles and four Super Bowls: XVI (1981 season), XIX (1984), XXIII (1988), and XXIV (1989). He is one of five players that were on all four 1980s 49er Super Bowl wins. The other four are quarterback Joe Montana, linebacker Keena Turner, cornerback Eric Wright, and wide receiver Mike Wilson.
After his career with San Francisco, Lott 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 (8) for a second time. Lott signed a free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1995, but was injured in the preseason. 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.
In his 14 NFL seasons, Lott recorded 8.5 sacks and 63 interceptions, which he returned for 730 yards and five touchdowns. He recovered 17 fumbles, returned them for 43 yards, and gained 113 yards on kickoff returns. Lott also played in 20 postseason games, recording nine interceptions, 89 tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and two touchdowns. He was also named All-Pro eight times, All-NFC six times, and All-AFC once. Beyond statistics, Lott had an uncanny awareness of how a play was developing, which allowed him to break up passes and earn a reputation as one of the hardest and most efficient open-field tacklers in the history of the league.
|Led the league|
|Won the Super Bowl|
Lott turned to broadcasting following his retirement, serving as an analyst on Fox NFL Sunday in 1996 and 1997, and working on the network's game coverage in 1998. He is currently[when?] on a show called PAC-12 Playbook on the PAC-12 television network. He also serves on the Board of Selectors of Jefferson Awards for Public Service.
Lott was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His father served a career in the United States Air Force, retiring as a Senior master sergeant. He now lives in Cupertino, California, with his wife, Karen, and his children, Hailey, Isaiah, and Chloe. The USA Today praised him as "one of the most successful athletes at making the transition to business." Along with former teammates Harris Barton and Joe Montana, Lott was a managing partner and a founder of HRJ Capital. Lott also owns both Toyota and Mercedes-Benz car dealerships, and opened World Sports Cafe in Fresno, California. He also advises professional athletes who are making a transition to the business world. Lott is also the father of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Ryan Nece.
In 1991, Lott, along with Jill Lieber, wrote an autobiography, Total Impact. Lott inspired the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is given annually by the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The 2011 winner was Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly. Lott was the guest of honor at a CYO fundraiser at Sharon Heights Country Club in Menlo Park, CA in May 2012 where he discussed the importance of helping the community. Lott credits the late Coach Ben Parks as a central figure in the development of his vigorous philanthropic work. Lott is an avid fan of the San Jose Sharks. On February 17, 2015, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of GSV Capital Corporation, a publicly traded investment fund.
- Phillips, Roger (November 6, 2003). "49ers announce plan to retire Lott's No. 42". Oakland Tribune. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
- Freeman, Mike (January 30, 2000). "Montana And Lott Lead Way Into Hall". New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
- Lieber, Jill (January 23, 1989). "Hitter with heart". Sports Illustrated. p. 44.
- May, Meredith (September 29, 2011). "Catching up with Ronnie Lott". SFGate. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
- "Ronnie Lott". College Football Hall of Fame. Football Foundation. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- Mitchell, Fred (April 23, 2002). "40 years later, Cubs to honor Hubbs". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
- Ronnie Lott
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 24, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Lieber, Jill (January 23, 1989). "Hitter With Heart". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Lott, Ronnie; Lieber, Jill (1991). Total Impact. p. 301. ISBN 0-385-42055-2.
- "GSV Capital Corp". quotes.wsj.com. Retrieved May 8, 2015.