On this day 15 years ago, Shannon Sharpe made history.
With a 29-yard reception in the 1st quarter of a game versus the Browns, Sharpe made his 663rd career reception, which at the time set an all-time NFL record. The person whose record he broke was none other than Sharpe’s general manager: Ozzie Newsome.
Though Baltimore lost to Cleveland that day, 27-17, Sharpe finished the game with seven receptions for 78 yards. Both totals led all receivers.
Sharpe only played two seasons in Baltimore, but when the Ravens acquired him prior to the 2000 season, they got an elite tight end who would provide a significant jolt to their offense. Sharpe was also a strong leader, and added to Baltimore’s bravado with some of his own.
Before his arrival, the Ravens had a record of 24-39-1 (37.5 percent). During his time with the Ravens, Sharpe helped Baltimore compile a 27-11 record (71.1 percent), which includes the first two playoff berths and the first Super Bowl championship in team history.
Sure he wasn’t the only one that contributed to that rapid success, but he was certainly an instrumental part of it.
Sharpe finished his career with 815 receptions for 10,060 yards. His receptions rank 30th all-time (2nd among tight ends) and his receiving yards rank 45th all-time (2nd among tight ends; 3rd if you include Don Maynard). He also won three Super Bowls in four years (1997-98, 2000).
Whether he was involved in the play or not, Sharpe’s performance was just that. His knowledge of the game, work ethic, and athleticism simply set him apart. His verbal talent was legendary as well.
Sharpe’s most notable play in purple and black set another record. It came during the 2000 postseason, when the Ravens were in Oakland for the AFC Championship. Baltimore was backed up near their own end zone, but with one quick pass from Trent Dilfer, Sharpe raced 96 yards for a touchdown. It still stands as the longest play from scrimmage in team history. Here’s a clip of Sharpe reliving that memorable moment.
Speaking of a memorable moment, there was a segment on the first season of HBO’s Hard Knocks where we saw the Baltimore rookies put on a talent show. Linebacker Tim Johnson portrayed Sharpe in a most entertaining way.
Even though his stay was brief, Sharpe was a strong addition to the Ravens organization. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011, and along with Tony Gonzalez, is considered to be one of the best tight ends of all-time. Here’s his induction speech.
There are many highlights he can choose from when he looks back on his career, but surpassing Newsome in a game versus the Browns (the only team Newsome played for) has to rank among the best.