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Retired NFL linebacker, Jack Lambert, was born July 8, 1952, Mantua, Ohio. Jack Lambert won four Super Bowls in his 11 year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is recognized as one of the best middle linebackers in the history of the NFL.
Jack Lambert was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft, many pro football coaches and scouts thought Lambert was too small to play linebacker in the NFL (Lambert played quarterback at Crestwood HS before switching to defensive end at Kent State.) While most of his pro career he was reported to be 6'4" and 220 pounds, he measured 6'3 1/2" and 204 pounds as a rookie. However, he displayed strength at warding off blockers and reading offenses.
The Steelers took a chance on Lambert, and he rewarded them quickly when he replaced middle linebacker Henry Davis. Lambert went on to earn the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award as a central figure on a great Steeler defense that went on to win their first Super Bowl IX to beat the Minnesota Vikings 16-6.
Lambert was known for the intensity with which he played. Lambert prided himself on his ability to hit hard and intimidate the opposition. By the time of his retirement, he was widely recognized as one of the great middle-linebackers in the history of the game. He played with the Steelers, starting at middle linebacker, for eleven seasons and he had 28 career interceptions, 1,441 career tackles, and 23-1/2 sacks.
In 1976, Lambert assumed the role as leader of the Steelers after star defensive tackle "Mean Joe" Greene missed several games due to a chronic back injury. The Steelers 1976 defense is considered one of the greatest defenses of all time, finishing #1 in nearly every statistical category. After quarterback Terry Bradshaw and numerous other starters went down with injuries, the Steelers struggled to a 1-4 record. At a "players only" meeting, Lambert made it clear that "the only way we are going to the playoffs to defend our title is to win them all from here out." In a remarkable nine-game span, the Steelers defense allowed only two touchdowns. They shut out opponents five times. Their opponents were held to an average of just 3 points per game in that stretch. The Steelers won all of their remaining games and finished at 10-4. The defense gave up only 138 points for the entire season. Eight of the eleven defensive starters on the Steelers made the Pro Bowl that year. Jack Lambert was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1976.
In a nine-year span, Jack Lambert was named to nine straight Pro Bowls and was NFL Defensive Player of the Year once. He led the Steelers' "Steel Curtain" defense to four Super Bowls Championships.
Jack Lambert and his wife Lisa live in Worthington, PA. with their 4 children (Lauren, Elizabeth, John and Ty.) He has been a volunteer deputy wildlife officer and he now focuses on coaching youth baseball and basketball, tending to his land and working hard to maintain his town's pristine ball fields. Like many former professional athletes, he doesn't watch tapes of football.
In 2004, the Fox Sports Net series The Sports List named Jack Lambert as the toughest football player of all time. While Lambert's number 58 is one of many jersey numbers "unofficially retired" by the team (the Steelers don't retire jersey numbers), his jersey number has perhaps gotten the biggest attention out of all such jersey numbers. When Lambert retired, he reportedly told the equipment manager that he was to never issue number 58 again (knowing well-aware of the team's policy not to retire numbers) or he was going to go after him.