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Brian Orakpo
200px
Orakpo with the Washington Redskins in 2014
No. 98     
Outside linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1986-07-31) July 31, 1986 (age 33)
Place of birth: Houston, Texas
Career information
College: Texas
NFL Draft: 2009 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Washington Redskins ( 2009 2014)
Career highlights and awards
* 4× Pro Bowl (2009, 2010, 2013, 2016)
Total tackles     423
Sacks     66.0
Forced fumbles     12
Interceptions     1
Pass deflections     31
Defensive touchdowns     1

Brian Ndubisi Orakpo (born July 31, 1986) is a former American football outside linebacker who played 10 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Texas, was recognized as a unanimous All-American, and was drafted by the Washington Redskins with the thirteenth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He also played for Tennessee Titans, and was selected to four Pro Bowls.

Early yearsEdit

Orakpo was born on July 31, 1986, in Houston, Texas to parents Gloria and Arthur Orakpo, who are immigrants from Nigeria.[1] He has two younger siblings, Jennifer and Michael.[2] Orakpo played high school football at Lamar High School in Houston, Texas.[3] He played defensive end and tight end and was a two-time First-team all-district selection for the Texans football team. In addition, he played basketball from his freshman to junior years.[4]

College careerEdit

File:Brian-Orakpo-UT-vs-A&M-11-27-08 (2).jpg

Orakpo attended the University of Texas, where he played for coach Mack Brown's Texas Longhorns football team from 2004 to 2008.[5] He was redshirted as a freshman in 2004, but in 2005 he played in all 13 games and started in one. He made an immediate impact for the Longhorns, helping them finish 10th in the nation at defense, recording 27 tackles, a half sack, a forced fumble and recovered fumble. His play earned him Defensive Freshman of the Year and first-team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News.

As a sophomore in 2006, he played all 13 games, recording 26 tackles and 4.5 sacks and was named one of the Lowe's Most Improved Defensive Players.[6] As a junior in 2007, he played in nine games and missed four due to right knee injury suffered against Arkansas State. He was the Defensive MVP of the 2007 Holiday Bowl against Arizona State after recording six tackles and two sacks during the game.[7][8] He finished the season with 37 tackles and 5.5 sacks.[9]

As a senior in 2008, Orakpo recorded 40 tackles and 11.5 sacks and was the Associated Press Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.[10][11][12] He also was the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to the best defensive player,[13] the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the top defensive end,[14] The Bill Willis Trophy given to the top collegiate defensive lineman, and the Lombardi Award, given to the best lineman or linebacker.[15] He was recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American, after receiving first-team honors from the Associated Press,[16] American Football Coaches Association,[17] Football Writers Association of America,[18] The Sporting News,[19] and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.[20] He was the first Texas Longhorn defensive end to earn All-American honors since Tony Brackens in 1995.[21]

In his college career, Orakpo recorded 132 tackles, 22 sacks, 38 tackles for loss, 62 pressures, six passes broken up, six forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

Professional careerEdit

Orakpo attended the NFL Combine with much anticipation due to his well-known reputation as a "workout warrior".[21][22] His 31 reps in the bench press ranked second among all defensive ends and seventh best among all defensive linemen. His 39.5-inch vertical jump was second for all defensive lineman, and he showed his speed and acceleration while recording a 4.63 40-yard dash time.[23] At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Orakpo was projected to be a first round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked the best defensive end/outside linebacker prospect in the draft by NFL analyst Bucky Brooks, was ranked the second best defensive end by DraftScout.com, and was ranked the second best outside linebacker in the draft by NFL analyst Mike Mayock.[24][25]

30px External video
16px Brian Orakpo's NFL Combine Workout

“Buyer beware, He’s boom or bust. I don’t know if he’s DeMarcus Ware or Vernon Gholston. I’ve seen him have some really good games, and I’ve seen what I considered to be Brandon Pettigrew tearing him apart. The point is, I don’t see it all the time from Orakpo, which concerns me.”[26]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 3 in 263 lb 4.63 s 1.58 s 2.66 s 4.45 s 7.26 s 39½ in 10 ft 10 in 31 rep 25

Washington RedskinsEdit

The Washington Redskins selected Orakpo in the first round (13th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. Orakpo was the third defensive end drafted in 2009.[30]

30px External video
16px Redskins draft Brian Orakpo 13th overall
16px First Draft: Brian Orakpo

2009Edit

On July 31, 2009, the Washington Redskins signed Orakpo to a five-year, $15.33 million contract that included $11.69 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $6.36 million.[31][32][33]

File:Brian Orakpo1.jpg

Head coach Jim Zorn named Orakpo the starting strongside linebacker to begin the regular season, along with Rocky McIntosh and middle linebacker London Fletcher.[34]

He made his professional regular season debut and first career start in the Washington Redskins' season-opener at the New York Giants and recorded two solo tackles in their 23–17 loss.[35] On September 27, 2009, Orakpo recorded four combined tackles and made his first career sack during a 19–14 loss at the Detroit Lions in Week 3. Orakpo made his first career sack on Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford for an eight-yard loss in the third quarter.[36] In Week 4, he collected a season-high seven combined tackles and a sack in the Redskins' 16–13 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[37] On December 13, 2009, Orakpo made six combined tackles and a season-high four sacks as the Redskins defeated the Oakland Raiders 34–13 in Week 14.[38] Orakpo had a sack on Bruce Gradkowski and three sacks on Jamarcus Russell and tied the Redskins' single game sack record.[39] He earned the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance. On December 30, 2009, it was announced that Orakpo was selected to play in the 2010 Pro Bowl and was the only rookie to be initially voted to the NFC roster.[40] Orakpo became the first Redskins' rookie to make the Pro Bowl since RB/KR Tony Green in 1978. He started in all 16 games as a rookie in 2009 and recorded 50 combined tackles (37 solo), a career-high 11 sacks, and two pass deflections.[41]

2010Edit

On January 4, 2010, the Washington Redskins fired head coach Jim Zorn after they finished with a 4–12 record in 2009.[42] The Washington Redskins hired Jim Haslett as their new defensive coordinator and installed a base 3-4 defense. Head coach Mike Shanahan named Orakpo and Andre Carter the starting outside linebackers to begin the regular season, along with inside linebackers London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh.[43]

On October 10, 2010, Orakpo recorded three combined tackles and a season-high a two sacks on quarterback Aaron Rodgers during a 16–13 win against the Green Bay Packers in Week 4.[44] In Week 10, he collected a season-high eight combined tackles and was credited with half a sack during a 59–28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.[45] He was sidelined for the Redskins' Week 16 victory at the Jacksonville Jaguars after sustaining a hamstring injury the previous week.[46] Orakpo finished the 2010 season with 56 combined tackles (36 solo), 8.5 sacks, two pass deflections, and a forced fumble in 15 games and 15 starts.[41] On January 23, 2011, it was announced that Orakpo would play in the 2011 Pro Bowl as a replacement for Green Bay Packers' linebacker Clay Matthews III who was appearing in Super Bowl XLV.[47] On January 30, 2011, he recorded seven combined tackles as part of the NFC during their 55–41 victory against the AFC.[48]

2011Edit

Head coach Mike Shanahan named Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan the starting outside linebackers to start the regular season, along with inside linebackers London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh.[49] On October 2, 2011, Orakpo recorded five combined tackles, a forced fumble, and had a season-high 2.5 sacks on Rams' quarterback Sam Bradford during a 17–10 win at the St. Louis Rams in Week 4.[50] His performance earned him the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award.[51] In Week 7, he collected a season-high six combined tackles and had one sack in a 33–20 loss at the Carolina Panthers.[52] On January 1, 2012, Orakpo recorded three solo tackles and made two sacks during a 34–10 loss at the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17.[53] He exited the game after suffering an injury to his left shoulder and pectoral muscle after sacking Michael Vick in the second quarter. On January 10, 2012, it was reported that Orakpo successfully underwent surgery to repair his shoulder.[54] Orakpo was selected as an alternate for the 2012 Pro Bowl along with teammates, London Fletcher and Lorenzo Alexander.[55] He started all 16 games in 2011 and recorded 59 combined tackles (34 solo), nine sacks, and five pass deflections.[41]

2012Edit

Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan returned as the starting outside linebackers to begin the regular season, along with London Fletcher and Perry Riley.[56] On September 16, 2012, Orakpo recorded three solo tackles and a sack before exiting the Redskins' 31-28 loss at the St. Louis Rams after tearing his pectoral muscle.[57][58] On September 18, 2012, the Washington Redskins officially placed Orakpo on injured reserve after confirming he would have to undergo surgery to repair his torn pectoral muscle and would miss the remainder of the season.[59] Orakpo finished the season with five solo tackles, three pass deflections, and a sack in two games and two starts.[41]

2013Edit

In Week 4, he recorded four combined tackles, a season-high two sacks, and broke up two passes during a 24–14 win at the Oakland Raiders.[60] On October 20, 2013, Orakpo recorded four combined tackles, a pass deflection, and returned an interception for his first career touchdown during a 45–41 win against the Chicago Bears in Week 7.[61][62] Orakpo intercepted a pass by Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler, that was intended for wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, and returned it 29-yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.[63] In Week 13, he recorded six combined tackles and tied his season-high of two sacks during a 24–17 loss to the New York Giants. Orakpo was inactive for the Redskins' Week 17 loss as the New York Giants due a ground injury he sustained the previous week.[64] On December 30, 2013, the Washington Redskins fired head coach Mike Shanahan after they finished with a 3–13 record.[65] He finished the season with a career-high 60 combined tackles (43 solo), ten sacks, four pass deflections, an interception, and a touchdown in 15 games and 15 starts.[41] On January 21, 2014, it was announced that Orakpo would play in the 2014 Pro Bowl as a replacement for Ahmad Brooks who withdrew from the game.[66]

2014Edit

On March 3, 2014, the Washington Redskins applied their non-exclusive franchise tag on Orakpo which allowed them to match any contract offer by other teams attempting to sign him.[67] On March 27, 2014, Orakpo signed his one-year, $11.45 million franchise tender.[68]

Head coach Jay Gruden retained defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and opted to retain the base 3-4 defense. He named Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan the starting outside linebackers to begin the regular season, along with inside linebackers Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley.[69] In Week 5, he collected a season-high eight combined tackles during a 27–17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. On October 19, 2014, Orakpo made one tackle before exiting in the fourth quarter of the Redskins' 19–17 win against the Tennessee Titans due to an injury to his right shoulder.[70] The following day, it was announced that Orakpo had torn his pectoral muscle and was expected to miss the remainder of the season.[71] On October 21, 2014, the Washington Redskins officially placed Orakpo on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.[72] Orakpo finished the 2014 season with 24 combined tackles (14 solo), a pass deflection, and was credited with half a sack in seven games and seven starts.[41]

Orakpo became an unrestricted free agent in 2015 and was regarded as the top free agent linebacker available. He attended a private meeting with the Tennessee Titans and had a meeting scheduled with the Arizona Cardinals.[73]

Tennessee TitansEdit

On March 13, 2015, the Tennessee Titans signed Orakpo to a four-year, $31 million contract that includes $13.50 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $5 million.[74][33]

2015Edit

Orakpo entered training camp slated as the starting right outside linebacker. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt named Orakpo and Derrick Morgan the starting outside linebackers to begin the regular season, along with inside linebackers Avery Williamson and Zach Brown.[75] On October 21, 2015, Orakpo was announced as the Titans' defensive captain. It marked the first time he was named a team captain during his career.[76] On November 3, 2015, the Tennessee Titans fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt after they began the season with a 1–6 record. Tight ends coach Mike Mularkey was promoted to interim head coach for the remainder of the season.[77] On November 8, 2015, Orakpo recorded four combined tackles, deflected a pass, and had a season-high two sacks on quarterback Drew Brees during a 34–28 overtime victory at the New Orleans Saints in Week 9.[78] The following week, he collected a season-high six combined tackles and made a sack as the Titans lost 27–10 to the Carolina Panthers in Week 10.[79] Orakpo started all 16 games in 2015 and recorded 51 combined tackles (38 solo), seven sacks, and five pass deflections.[41] Orakpo received an overall grade of 80.7 from Pro Football Focus in 2015.[80]

2016Edit

The Tennessee Titans retained head coach Mike Mularkey and hired Dick LeBeau as their new defensive coordinator. Head coach Mike Mularkey named Orakpo and Derrick Morgan the starting outside linebackers to begin the regular season, along with inside linebackers Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard.[81] On October 9, 2016, Orakpo collected a season-high six combined tackles and had two sacks on Dolphins' quarterback Ryan Tannehill during the Titans' 30–17 win at the Miami Dolphins.[82] On December 20, 2016, it was announced that Orakpo was named to the 2017 Pro Bowl roster.[83] Orakpo started in all 16 games in 2016 and recorded 46 combined tackles (38 solo), 10.5 sacks, four pass deflections, and a forced fumble.[41] He was also ranked 78th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[84]

2017Edit

Head coach Mike Mularkey retained Orakpo, Derrick Morgan, Wesley Woodyard, and Avery Williamson as the starting linebackers in 2017.[85] On September 17, 2017, Orakpo forced a fumble off of quarterback Blake Bortles, which was recovered by teammate and linebacker Erik Walden, in the 37–16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.[86] In Week 12, Orakpo recorded four combined tackles and a season-high 1.5 sacks during a 20–16 win at the Indianapolis Colts.[87] On December 24, 2017, Orakpo collected a season-high six combined tackles in the Titans' 27–23 loss against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16.[88] He started all 16 games in 2017 and made 44 combined tackles (30 solo), seven sacks, three forced fumbles, and two pass deflections.[41] Pro Football Focus gave Orakpo an overall grade of 78.2, which ranked as the 29th best grade among all qualifying edge rushers in 2017.[89]

The Tennessee Titans finished second in the AFC South with a 9–7 record.[90] On January 6, 2018, Orakpo started in his first career playoff game and recorded two combined tackles and 1.5 sacks during a 22–21 win at the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card Round. The following week, he recorded two combined tackles as the Titans lost 35–14 at the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round.[91]

2018Edit

Orakpo would miss the final three games of the season due to an elbow injury. [92] In all, Orakpo started 13 games in 2018, finishing with 28 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 passes defensed and a forced fumble.[93]

RetirementEdit

On December 31, 2018, Orakpo announced his retirement from the NFL after 10 seasons.[94]

NFL statisticsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Comb Total Ast Sck Int Yds Avg Lng TD PD FF FR
2009 WSH 16 16 50 37 13 11.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 1 0
2010 WSH 15 15 56 36 20 8.5 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 1 0
2011 WSH 16 16 59 34 25 9.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 5 3 1
2012 WSH 2 2 5 5 0 1.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 3 1 0
2013 WSH 15 15 60 43 17 10.0 1 29 29.0 29 1 4 0 2
2014 WSH 7 7 24 14 10 0.5 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0
2015 TEN 16 16 51 38 13 7.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 5 1 0
2016 TEN 16 16 46 38 8 10.5 0 0 0.0 0 0 4 1 0
2017 TEN 16 16 44 30 14 7.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 3 0
2018 TEN 13 13 28 18 10 1.5 0 0 0.0 0 0 3 1 0
Career 132 132 423 293 130 66.0 1 29 29.0 29 1 31 12 3
[95]

PostseasonEdit

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Comb Total Ast Sck Int Yds Avg Lng TD PD FF FR
2017 TEN 2 2 4 2 2 1.5 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 2 2 4 2 2 1.5 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0

Personal lifeEdit

Among Orakpo's endorsement contracts included one he signed in August 2011 with Geico,[96] and he has appeared in several commercials with one of that company's "caveman" spokespeople. While with the Redskins, Orakpo also appeared in several commercials for Eastern Motors, a D.C. area car dealership.[97][98] Brian married his wife Bitura in 2010. They have three children together: Brian, Brianna (2013), and Brea (November 2017). In 2018, Orakpo and Tennessee Titans teammate Michael Griffin opened a franchise of Gigi's Cupcakes outside Austin, Texas with their friend, Bryan Hynson.[99]

ReferencesEdit

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