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Willie Blade
No. 96     
Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1979-02-07) February 7, 1979 (age 40)
Place of birth: Landstuhl, West Germany
Career information
College: Mississippi State
NFL Draft: 2001 / Round: 3 / Pick: 93
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Dallas Cowboys ( 2001)
Career highlights and awards
* All-Jayhawk Conference (1998)
Games played     20
Tackles     18
Sacks     1
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

Willie Ervin Blade II (born February 7, 1979 in Landstuhl, Germany) is a former American football defensive tackle in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars. He played college football at Mississippi State University.

Early yearsEdit

Blade attended Warner Robins High School, where he was named to the Peach State Top 40 by the Augusta Chronicle.

He went on to play at Northwest College but transferred the next year to Butler Community College, where he earned All-Jayhawk Conference honors, after registering 42 tackles (12 for loss) and 6 sacks, helping his team win the National Junior College Championship.

As a junior, he transferred to Mississippi State University where he was a reserve defensive tackle, recording 28 tackles (4 for loss), 6 quarterback pressures, and one sack. In his senior season, he was named a starter (9 out of 11 games) and posted 51 tackles, 9 tackles for loss (third on the team), 13 quarterback pressures (second on the team) and team-highs with 4 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries. He received second-team All-SEC honors and was also a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy.

Professional careerEdit

Dallas Cowboys (first stint)Edit

Blade was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round (93rd overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft, after dropping because he was seen as a talented, but underachieving player. The team had finished last in the NFL in run defense the previous year and took a chance on him.

After missing the first three practices of training camp in a contract dispute, he dislocated his right wrist and sustained ligament damage during his second full practice. The injury forced the team to place him on the injured reserve list.[1] The next season, he came into training camp out of shape and was still hampered by his right wrist injury, so the team decided to release him on September 1, 2002.

Houston TexansEdit

On September 2, 2002, the Houston Texans claimed him off waivers, but was inactive for fifteen weeks until his release on December 24.

Dallas Cowboys (second stint)Edit

2003 was Bill Parcells' first season as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, the team was looking to improve its defensive line depth and signed him on January 7. Parcells liked his potential, and went as far as involving Blade's parents, being present in every one of his weight checks and personally monitoring his workouts, while trying to change his attitude.[2]

Blade recovered from a preseason MCL sprained and would go on to play a key role in the NFL first ranked defensive unit, starting 14 games at left defensive tackle opposite La'Roi Glover, while registering 18 tackles (3 for loss), one sack and 8 quarterback pressures. The Cowboys expected him to keep improving, but the next season he relapsed into his old habits, reporting to training camp overweight and was released on July 26, 2004.

New York GiantsEdit

On July 28, 2004, the New York Giants claimed him off waivers, but released him just two days later, after he could not complete the team's conditioning run.[3]

Jacksonville JaguarsEdit

On August 2, 2004, Blade was claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars to compete for the third tackle position, but was eventually released on November 9.[4]

Dallas Cowboys (third stint)Edit

On January 21, 2005, he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys, but suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the NFL Europe training camp. He was released on September 4.

Tampa Bay Storm (AFL)Edit

In 2007, he played with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League.

ReferencesEdit

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