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Courtesy: Jackson State Athletics Media
JSU Pays Tribute to Football Legend Lem Barney
Courtesy: Jackson State Athletics Media  
Release: 11/08/2013
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JACKSON – The Jackson State University Alumni Players Association and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes honored former Tigers football great and pro football hall of fame member Lem Barney on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday The JSU Alumni Players Association presented Barney with his official JSU All-Century team plaque among other gifts. Thursday night at the Mississippi E-Center the FCA held a reception for him.

“It is great to be here,” said Barney. “My real education started here at Jackson State.”

Barney is arguably one of the greatest defensive backs to ever put on a helmet and cleats. While at Jackson State he was a three-time All-SWAC performer who intercepted 26 passes in three seasons. In 1967 Barney was a second round draft pick of the Detroit Lions. After a sensational rookie season, Barney was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl, a feat he would achieve six more times during his stellar career. Barney also tied the NFL interception record with 10. Three of his picks were returned for touchdowns, just one shy of the then all-time single season record.

The Gulfport, Mississippi native also received acclaim as a kick return specialist. Early in his career he saw duty on both the punt and kick-return units. He was highly feared as a big play threat. During his 11-season tenure, Barney had a 98-yard kickoff return, a 94-yard field goal return, a 74-yard punt return and a 71-yard interception return.

For his career, Barney had 56 interceptions for 1,077 yards, 143 punts for 1,312 yards and 50 kick-off returns for 1,274. He scored 11 touchdowns on seven interceptions, two punt returns, one kick-off return and one field goal return. He also recovered 11 fumbles and doubled as the Lions punter in 1967 and again in 1969. Barney was named to the All-NFL team in 1968 and 1969 and the All-NFC team in 1972 and 1975.

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