A native of Atlanta, Richard Dent made his mark on the football history of Tennessee State University before heading to the NFL. Dent was recruited by coaching legend John Merritt and played for TSU from 1979 until 1982.
While at the University, Dent lettered in football every year and received All-American honors twice. He held the quarterback sack career record of 39.5 and set a single-game sack record of 4.5 in 1982. He finished his TSU career with 158 tackles, 39.5 sacks, 6 fumble recoveries and was drafted in the eighth round by the Chicago Bears in 1983.
Dent went on to have one of the most celebrated careers of an NFL defensive lineman. He was known for his dominating play throughout his 14-year professional career. Dent played in every game as a rookie and started in three.
The following year, he became a permanent starter at right end and recorded 17.5 sacks which was the most of any defender in the NFC. Appropriately, he was named to the first of his four Pro Bowls and earned All-Pro honors as well. During his career, he was named All-NFC five times and played in four Pro Bowls (1985, 1986, 1991 and 1994).
For Dent, the 1984 season was the beginning of a remarkable 10-year period during which he had double digit sacks in eight of the next ten seasons. His NFC leading 17.5 sacks in 1984 was immediately followed up with an NFL best 17. That year the Bears trounced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. Dent’s Super Bowl performance – three tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles – earned him Most Valuable Player honors. He is only one of five defensive players in Super Bowl history to earn the MVP honor.
Before his retirement in 1997, Dent played one year each for San Francisco, Indianapolis and Philadelphia. Dent’s 137.5 career sacks places him third on the NFL records list and he remains the Bears all-time sacks leader. He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Today, he operates the “Make a Dent” Foundation and sits on the boards of several civic organizations including the National College Foundation and the Illinois College Hall of Fame. Dent makes his home in Chicago and is a partner of First Communications, a telecommunications company.