Suggs Named Finalist For Lombardi Award
Nov. 15, 2002
Houston -- For the second consecutive year, the defense has held its own as four defensive players have been named finalists for the 2002 Rotary Lombardi Award.
The four who will gather in Houston on December 11th for the announcement are linebacker E.J. Henderson of Maryland, defensive tackle Tommie Harris of Oklahoma, and defensive ends Cory Redding of Texas and Terrell Suggs of Arizona State.
Suggs is looking to become ASU's first Rotary Lombardi winner and the first from a Pac-10 school since Steve Emtman of Washington in 1991. He has smashed all of the official sack records, chalking up 19.5 with a pair of games left this season.
Henderson is the fourth consecutive representative from the ACC to be named a finalists and the conference has produced the last two winners (Jamal Reynolds and Julius Peppers). Harris and Redding give the Big XII Conference it's first multiple set of finalists. Suggs is the first finalist to represent the Pac-10 since fellow Sun Devil Juan Roque in 1996.
They were selected in a vote of more than 400 members of the Rotary Lombardi Selection Committee, which is comprised of all Division I head coaches, a selection of sportswriters and broadcasters from around the country, and the 30 living past winners of the award.
Henderson is the second Terp to be named a Rotary Lombardi finalist, joining 1974 winner Randy White. He led Maryland's remarkable run to the Orange Bowl last season and has sparked a turnaround this year that has seen the Terrapins win seven straight games. He has again topped the century mark in tackles for the third straight season and has set a Maryland record with 55.5 tackles for loss.
Despite constant double-teaming by opponents, Harris remains a force in the middle of the Sooners defensive line. His is the 11th Oklahoma finalist and is looking to become their third winner, joining Lee Roy Selmon (1975) and Tony Casillas (1985).
Redding is the first Longhorn finalist since Tony Degrate won in 1984 and is vying to become the first Houston-area product to win the Rotary Lombardi Award. He has been at his best in posting 25 tackles (18 solo), 14 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 13 QB pressures and a forced fumble over the Horns last five games (three vs. Top 25 opponents and at Nebraska). He leads the team in sacks (5.5), TFLs (16) and QB pressures (30).
The four finalists will be flown to Houston to attend the gala Rotary Lombardi Award Dinner, which will be held on the field of Houston's Reliant Stadium on December 11th. Former President George Bush is the Honorary Chairman of the 2002 event and will speak at the dinner, as will legendary Green Bay Packer lineman Jerry Kramer and Houston Texans owner Bob McNair.This marks the first time the Rotary Lombardi Award Dinner has moved from a hotel ballroom and also marks the first time an event of this type will be hosted in the newly-opened Reliant Stadium.
Now in its 33rd year of honoring the top lineman or linebacker in Division I football, the Rotary Lombardi Award Dinner has raised over $2.6 million for The American Cancer Society since it was first held in 1970. Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to Division I down linemen and those defensive players who line up within five yards of the football.
Table sales for the 2002 Lombardi Award Dinner are currently underway. For more information about participating in, or supporting the 2002 Dinner as a sponsor, please call (713) 942-1209or visit the official web site of the award, www.rotarylombardiaward.com .