Raymond Lester "Trace" Armstrong III (born October 5, 1965), is an American former American football defensive end in the National Football League (NFL) for fifteen seasons from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. He played college football for Arizona State University and the University of Florida, and was recognized as an All-American. A first-round (12th overall) pick in the 1989 NFL Draft, he played professionally for the Chicago Bears, the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders. He was formerly the president of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), and he currently works as a sports agent.
|Born:||October 5, 1965|
|Height:||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Weight:||275 lb (125 kg)|
|High school:||Birmingham (AL) Carroll Catholic|
|NFL Draft:||1989 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Armstrong was born in Bethesda, Maryland in 1965. He attended John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham, Alabama, where he played high school football and lettered three years as an outside linebacker and defensive end for the John Carroll Cavaliers. Armstrong was an all-state selection and was named one of The Birmingham News' top twelve players in Alabama as a high school senior.
Armstrong accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, where he began his college career as a defensive tackle for the Arizona State Sun Devils football team. He red-shirted in 1984, and as a freshman in 1985 he played in ten games with three starts, totaling thirty-two tackles (two for a loss).
As a sophomore in 1986, Armstrong was a back-up with two starts on the 10–1–1 Sun Devils that finished fourth in the AP poll and defeated the Michigan Wolverines in the Rose Bowl. He recovered a key fumble in the Sun Devils' defeat of the USC Trojans that sealed the Devils' Rose Bowl bid. He finished the 1986 season with twenty-six tackles (one for a loss—a quarterback sack), one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
As a junior starter in 1987, Armstrong had a key role in the defeat of the Oregon State Beavers, when he sacked Erik Wilhelm in the end zone for a safety that began an 11–0 scoring run by the Sun Devils in sealing a 30–21 win. The 1987 Sun Devils finished No. 20 in the final AP poll after defeating Air Force in the 1987 Freedom Bowl. Armstrong ended the 1987 season with fifty-one tackles (ten for-a-loss including a team-leading seven sacks). He was an honorable mention All-America by both the AP and UPI.
Armstrong was denied a final year of eligibility by the NCAA due to an "academic mix-up," which he could only recoup if he transferred to another school. However, he was granted immediate eligibility after the NCAA waived its transfer rule in an unusual academic status case from high school which allowed the transfer.
As a result, Armstrong transferred to the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, and played his final college season for coach Galen Hall's Florida Gators football team in 1988. He was recognized as a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection and a first-team All-American at defensive tackle. He set a new Gators single-season record for most tackles for a loss with nineteen, including seven sacks. In all, Armstrong recorded fifty-nine tackles with forty-one of those solo. He finished his college career on the sidelines in the Gators' 14–10 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini in the All American Bowl on December 29, 1988. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his left knee two weeks before the bowl game and could not play.
Armstrong ended his college career with 169 tackles, including thirty-two tackles for losses and fifteen quarterback sacks. He graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in liberal arts in 1989, and returned to earn a master's degree in business administration in 2006. As part of a fan poll conducted by The Gainesville Sun in 2006, he was voted to the Florida Gators 100th Anniversary Team as a defensive lineman together with other Gators like Jack Youngblood, Wilber Marshall and Kevin Carter. Armstrong was also inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2000.
The Chicago Bears selected Armstrong in the first round (11th overall pick) of the 1989 NFL Draft, and he played for the Bears for six seasons from 1989 to 1994. He signed with the Bears on August 18, 1989; his total package was a reported $2.2 million over four years.
After the Bears' 47–27 victory at Detroit on September 27, 1989, Armstrong perhaps made his first NFL mark. After reporting late to training camp because of a contract dispute, and then struggling through the first two games of the season, Armstrong finally found his niche at left defensive end against the Lions, making five solo tackles, defending a pass and getting his first pro sack by dumping Lions quarterback Bob Gagliano. Armstrong finished his rookie season with five sacks and was voted All-Rookie. His teammates voted him the winner of the Brian Piccolo Award for "courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication, and sense of humor."
The following season, 1990, Armstrong notched ten sacks, the first of five seasons he reached double-digits. He was NFC Defensive Player of the Month in September 1990, in which he totaled twenty-five tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and one pass defended.
In 1991, he recorded only 1.5 sacks, in part because although he was the starting left defensive end he moved to defensive tackle in the Bears "nickel defense," perhaps cutting down on his pass-rush opportunities. He was slated to play that spot again in 1992, however, the development of Alonzo Spellman allowed Armstrong to play end in all situations. As a result, his sack total was a 6.5.
On March 16, 1993, Armstrong re-signed a three-year $3 million deal with the Bears which was reported to make him one of the five highest-paid players on the team. In 1993, Armstrong notched 11.5 sacks and forced three fumbles. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for three tackles, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and two sacks in a Thanksgiving Day win over Detroit. He also had six tackles and two sacks at Philadelphia on October 10, 1993, and then career-best 2.5 sacks at Kansas City on November 21, 1993.
In 1994, his last in Chicago, he had 7.5 sacks. In the playoffs that season, against the Minnesota Vikings, January 1, 1995, Armstrong recorded both of the Bears' sacks in a 35–18 win over the Vikings for which he was awarded the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award.
On April 4, 1995, the Dolphins traded a second and third-round draft pick for Armstrong. He was acquired to fill a role as a designated pass rusher, a player who comes into the game in likely passing downs in an effort to give the team's pass rush a boost. This is a role Armstrong filled the rest of his career; however, in five seasons, injuries to the starting ends forced Armstrong into a starting role. On October 12, 1995, Armstrong signed a five-year $8.9 million contract extension with the Dolphins.
In 1996, Armstrong started nine games and recorded twelve sacks. He remained the starter in 1997 and returned to the "designated rusher" role in 1998. He was named as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Week for postseason games played January 8–9, 2000. In the Dolphins 20–17 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, January 9, 2000, Armstrong helped a defense which limited Seattle to 32 total yards in the second half. He registered five tackles, three sacks and one quarterback hurry on the day.
He led the AFC in quarterback sacks (16.5) in 2000 with the Miami Dolphins while recording 7 forced fumbles, also a career-high. He also made the Pro Bowl for the only time in his career. He did this despite not starting a single game, making him the first so-called designated pass rusher to go to the Pro Bowl since Fred Dean was voted to the 1983 post-season all-star game.
Armstrong signed a free-agent contract with the Raiders in 2001. The Raiders offered him a six-year deal worth approximately $18.5 million. However, the first two years were to pay approximately $8 million, including a $5 million signing bonus. In his three years with the Raiders, Armstrong earned $9 million.
Armstrong sustained an Achilles tendon injury on September 30, 2001, causing him to miss the final thirteen games of the 2001 season. In 2002 and 2003, Armstrong was pressed into a starting role due to injuries of the so-called "run down defense" of the Raiders. He started eight games at right defensive end in 2002 after Tony Bryant was hurt, and he started seven games at left defensive end when Lorenzo Bromell was injured in 2003.
Armstrong suffered his own injuries in 2002 and 2003. In 2003 it was a groin injury that put him in the injured-reserve list and in 2003, he injured a shoulder in November which ended his 2003 season after ten games.
While in Oakland, he was the twentieth player in NFL history to record 100 career quarterback sacks, and finished his career with a total of 106.5. (When he retired, he was sixteenth in the all-time sack leader list.) Following the 2003 season, he was released from the Oakland Raiders after failing a physical due to several substantial injuries incurred while in Oakland and retired from the NFL afterwards. According to NFLPA records, in his fifteen NFL seasons Armstrong earned approximately $23 million in salary and bonuses.
While playing in the NFL, Armstrong served as the president of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) for eight years (1996–2003). In 2009, Armstrong stood for election to become the full-time executive director of the NFLPA, a position left vacant by the death of Gene Upshaw. Although he was considered a favorite for the job, he lost the election to Washington, D.C.-based attorney DeMaurice Smith.
Armstrong currently serves as the agent for former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer, former Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke, former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, Kansas Jayhawks head coach Les Miles, Texas Longhorn head coachTom Herman, and West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen, among others. He is also the agent for several broadcasters such as Peter Gammons, Chris Mortensen, Dan Le Batard, and Stugotz (John Weiner). Armstrong currently lives in his former college hometown, Gainesville, Florida, with his wife Tami and three sons. His eldest son, Jared Armstrong, is currently a quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles football team.
The 1988 All-SEC football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) chosen by various selectors for the 1988 college football season.1988 College Football All-America Team
The 1988 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1988. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognizes five selectors as "official" for the 1988 season. They are: (1) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA); (2) the Associated Press (AP) selected based on the votes of sports writers at AP newspapers; (3) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA); (4) the United Press International (UPI) selected based on the votes of sports writers at UPI newspapers; and (5) the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WC). Other notable selectors included Football News, the Gannett News Service, Scripps Howard (SH), and The Sporting News (TSN).1988 Florida Gators football team
The 1988 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1988 NCAA Division I-A football season. The season was Galen Hall's fifth as the head coach of the Florida Gators football team. Hall's 1988 Florida Gators finished with a 7–5 overall record and a Southeastern Conference (SEC) record of 4–3, tying for fourth place among the ten SEC teams.The Gators started the 1988 season 5–0 and were ranked as high as No. 14. During an October game against the Memphis State Tigers, star running back Emmitt Smith injured his knee and was unable to play for a month. Florida lost the Memphis State contest and the next three as well, with the Gator offense unable to score a single touchdown while Smith was sidelined. The offense under coordinator Lynn Amadee struggled all season, with Gator quarterbacks combining to throw three touchdowns and 17 interceptions, leading one Florida sports columnist to dub the offense the "Amadeeville Horror". Defensive tackle Trace Armstrong was All-SEC in 1988, setting a new school, single-season record for tackles for a loss with nineteen, including seven sacks. In both 1987 and 1988, walk-on safety Louis Oliver was an All-American.1989 Chicago Bears season
The 1989 Chicago Bears season was their 70th regular season completed in the National Football League. The Bears were looking to win the NFC Central for a sixth consecutive season, but instead finished with a 6–10 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1983. The Bears’ offseason moves prior to this season had consequences for years afterward as the pieces from Super Bowl XX’s team slowly began to leave or retire.1991 Chicago Bears season
The 1991 Chicago Bears season was their 72nd regular season and 21st postseason completed in the National Football League (NFL). The Bears returned to the playoffs for a second consecutive season as one of three NFC Wild Cards, finishing with an 11–5 record and in second place in the NFC Central. They were beaten, however, by the Dallas Cowboys in their first playoff game. This was Mike Ditka's last playoff game as a head coach.1993 Chicago Bears season
The 1993 Chicago Bears season was their 74th regular season completed in the National Football League (NFL). It was the Bears' first season since 1981 without Mike Ditka as head coach, as he had been fired following the team's 5–11 finish the year before. Under new head coach Dave Wannstedt, the Bears improved their record to 7–9 but again failed to make the playoffs.1994 Chicago Bears season
The 1994 Chicago Bears season was their 75th regular season completed in the National Football League (NFL). The Bears matched their 9–7 record under head coach Dave Wannstedt for their first winning season since the end of the 1991 season. The club was one of four teams from the NFC Central to make the playoffs. This was also the NFL's 75th Anniversary so the Bears wore 1920s-era throwback jerseys in a few games. The Bears celebrated their first playoff win since January 6, 1991, with a hard-fought road victory over the NFC Central champion Minnesota Vikings 35–18 before being knocked out by the eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers 44–15 at Candlestick Park.
1994 was the last time the Bears made the playoffs during the 1990s as the following seasons would be disastrous. They wouldn't return to postseason contention until 2001.1997 Miami Dolphins season
The 1997 Miami Dolphins season was the team's 32nd as a member of the National Football League. The Dolphins improved upon their previous season's output of 8–8, winning nine games. Seven of the team's sixteen games were decided by a field goal or less. This was also the season where the Dolphins released a new logo and new uniforms with a darker aqua and black drop shadow in numbers. The uniforms and logo lasted until the 2012 season.1998 Buffalo Bills season
The 1998 Buffalo Bills season was the team's 39th season, and 29th in the National Football League. The season marked an important development in the Bills’ history as a quarterback controversy would consume the whole season between Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie. It would also mark the beginning of the Wade Phillips era. The Bills improved on the previous season's output of 6–10, and finished second in the AFC East with a 10–6 record, and would qualify for the playoffs only to lose in the wild card round to the Miami Dolphins.
The Bills lost their first three games of the season, all by six points or less, and looked to be headed for a losing season. After a bye in Week Four, quarterback Rob Johnson finally won his first game with Buffalo, holding on for a 26–21 win over San Francisco in Week Five. Flutie started the next eleven games, winning nine of them. The Bills had a playoff spot locked up by the final game of the season, which Johnson started and won.
The Bills played the Dolphins in the Wild Card round of the 1998 AFC Playoffs, where wide receiver Eric Moulds would set the NFL playoff record for receiving yards, with 240. The Bills would end up losing the game 24–17, as Dolphins lineman Trace Armstrong sacked Flutie on Buffalo's last drive, forcing him to fumble, and icing the game for Miami.1998 Miami Dolphins season
The 1998 Miami Dolphins season was the team's 33rd as a member of the National Football League. The Dolphins improved upon their previous season's output of 9–7, winning ten games. The team qualified for the playoffs for the second straight year. The Dolphins defeated the Buffalo Bills 24-17 in the Wild Card Game, but lost to the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos 38-3 in the Divisional Playoff Game.
The 2012 Football Outsiders Almanac states that the 1998 Dolphins had the single biggest defensive improvement (from the previous season) from 1991 to 2011.As with the 1985 Bears, the Dolphins defeated a team (the Broncos) widely tipped a few weeks earlier to beat their unbeaten 1972 season, although this time the Dolphins were not defending their status as the only unbeaten team since the Giants had already beaten the Broncos. Because, before the admission of the Texans in 2002, scheduling for NFL games outside a team’s division was subject to much greater influence from table position during the previous season, that game was the first time the Dolphins had opposed the Broncos since that same 1985 season.1999 Miami Dolphins season
The 1999 Miami Dolphins season was the team's 34th campaign, and 30th in the National Football League. It was the 17th and final season for Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. Although they made the second wild card spot with a 9–7 record, and managed to upset the Seattle Seahawks 20–17 in the Wild Card Game, they were humiliated and decimated by the Jacksonville Jaguars 7–62 in the Divisional round, the most lopsided playoff game of the Super Bowl era.
The Dolphins reached the midway point of the 1999 season with a 7–1 record, but in the second half of the year, the team struggled, finishing only 2–6, and backing their way into the playoffs with the AFC's last wild-card slot.2000 All-Pro Team
The 2000 All-Pro Team is composed of the National Football League players that were named to the Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, and The Sporting News All-Pro Teams in 2000. Both first and second teams are listed for the AP team. These are the three teams that are included in Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. In 2000 the Pro Football Writers Association and Pro Football Weekly combined their All-pro teams, a practice with continues through 2008. In 2000 the AP did not have a separate “Fullback” position.2001 Miami Dolphins season
The 2001 Miami Dolphins season was the franchise's 32nd season in the National Football League and the 36th season in the AFC division under the guidance of Dave Wannstedt, who was entering his 2nd year as Dolphins head coach. The Miami Dolphins finished the season 2nd in the AFC East with a record of 11-5. Their season ended with a defeat to the defending Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens, in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
The Miami Dolphins had the 8th best ranked offense and 11th best ranked defense in the league in 2001.4 Miami Dolphins players were selected for the Pro Bowl in 2001: Jason Tayor, Trace Armstrong, Sam Madison & Larry Izzo
The Dolphins didn't return to the playoffs until 2008, the same year they became the first team in NFL history to win their division after having only one win the previous season.2001 Pro Bowl
The 2001 Pro Bowl was the NFL's all-star game for the 2000 season. The game was played on February 4, 2001, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The final score was AFC 38, NFC 17. Rich Gannon of the Oakland Raiders was the game's MVP.Bill Hawkins (American football)
William E. Hawkins (born May 9, 1966) is a former professional American football defensive end who played four seasons for the Los Angeles Rams in the National Football League and was an All-American at the University of Miami.Brian Piccolo Award
The Brian Piccolo Award is an honor that is given to players of the Chicago Bears. The award is given to one rookie and one veteran per season who best exemplifies the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of the late Brian Piccolo. Piccolo was a running back for the Bears from 1966 until his untimely death from embryonal cell carcinoma on June 16, 1970, at age 26.John Carroll Catholic High School (Birmingham, Alabama)
John Carroll Catholic High School is a co-educational private school in Birmingham, Alabama, United States and is one of six Catholic high schools serving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama.List of Chicago Bears first-round draft picks
The Chicago Bears are an American football franchise based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the National Football Conference (NFC) North division in the National Football League (NFL). They participated in the first ever NFL draft in 1936 and selected Joe Stydahar, a tackle from West Virginia University. Stydahar went to have a stellar career with the franchise and is inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The team's most recent first round selection (2018) was Roquan Smith, an inside linebacker from Georgia. The Bears have not had first round selections a total of six times, most recently in 2010. The Bears have only selected the number one overall pick in the draft twice, choosing Tom Harmon in 1941 and Bob Fenimore in 1947. The team's six selections from the University of Texas are the most chosen by the Bears from one program. Nine of the first round selections have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Every year during April, each NFL franchise seeks to add new players to its roster through a collegiate draft known as "the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting", which is more commonly known as the NFL Draft. The NFL Draft, as a whole, gives the advantage to the teams that did poorly the previous season. The 30 teams that did not make the Super Bowl are ranked in order so the team with the worst record picks first and the team with the best record pick last. The two exceptions to this inverse order are made for teams that appeared in the previous Super Bowl; the Super Bowl champion selects 32nd overall, and the Super Bowl loser selects 31st overall. If the franchise so chooses, they may trade their draft picks for any combination of draft picks, players, and money.List of National Football League career sacks leaders
This is a list of National Football League (NFL) players who have reached the 100-sack milestone.
The NFL began to keep track of sacks in 1982. Sacks before this date are not included in this list.
Italics denotes active player
National Football League Players Association presidents