The Life and Legacy of Kenny The Shark Gant: A Look Back at His Impact on Football
Kenny "The Shark" Gant was a football player who made a name for himself in the NFL during the 1990s. He was known for his hard-hitting style of play, as well as his iconic "Shark Dance" celebration. Gant's legacy in football is one that will forever be remembered by fans, players, and coaches alike. On this episode of Battle Scars Podcast with Tim Klund and Rocci Stucci, we will take a look back at the life and legacy of Kenny "The Shark" Gant, exploring his rise to football stardom, his accomplishments on and off the field, and the lasting impact he has had on the sport of football.
Gant attended Kathleen High School in Lakeland, Florida. He received a football scholarship from Albany State University, where although he came in as an offensive player, he was converted to the defensive side and became a four-year starter at cornerback.
As a freshman, he posted 15 tackles, 3 interceptions and one pass defensed. As a sophomore, he tallied 33 tackles, 3 interceptions and 6 passes defensed. As a junior, he recorded 55 tackles, 3 sacks and 6 passes defensed. He also made 7 tackles against Fort Valley State University.
As senior, he registered 55 tackles, 5 interceptions (third in the conference) and one blocked punt. He had 6 tackles and one interception against Savannah State University. In his college career he only missed one game, finishing with 158 tackles, 14 interceptions, 17 passes defensed and 4 fumble recoveries.
Gant's impressive performance on the field caught the attention of NFL scouts, and he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys 1990.
In 1991, from his gunner position he led the Cowboys special teams with 25 tackles (18 solo). He also registered 14 defensive tackles and 3 passes defensed. He started at left cornerback in the eleventh game against the New York Giants. He was a kickoff returner in the last 9 games of the season.
In 1992, he was moved from cornerback to strong safety and the defense led the NFL in preventing third-down conversions, allowing opponents a conversion rate of 27.2 percent. He finished with 13 special teams tackles (second on the team), three sacks, nine quarterback pressures, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, 10 passes defensed, one blocked punt and led backup players in defensive tackles (54). In 1993, he was third on the team with 17 special teams tackles. He also was a kickoff returner in the first 4 games of the season. In the playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons, he forced 2 fumbles in the third quarter to help setup 2 touchdowns.
In 1993, he missed most of training camp after suffering a separated left shoulder in preseason against the Detroit Lions. He played in 12 games, collecting 17 special teams tackles (fourth on the team), one interception, 11 passes defensed (second on the team) and led backup players in defensive tackles (43). In 1994, he had 15 special teams tackles, one interception, 4 passes defensed and 15 defensive tackles.
Gant was a member of the Cowboys Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII championship teams. He was nicknamed "The Shark" because during the 1992 season, before every kickoff and after making big plays, he would perform a celebratory dance dubbed "The Shark Dance". Typically, he would strut around, flapping his elbows while holding his hand over his head to simulate a shark's dorsal fin, a move that he learned from teammate Kevin Smith, who called it "the Shark Fin" from his days at Texas A&M University, where defensive backs used it to celebrate.
Kenny Gant's advice to aspiring football players is simple: work hard and never give up. Gant knows firsthand the dedication and hard work it takes to make it in the NFL, and he encourages young athletes to stay focused on their goals and never give up on their dreams.
Gant also stresses the importance of education. He knows that football is not a career that lasts forever, and he encourages young athletes to pursue their education and have a backup plan in case their football career does not work out.
Kenny Gant's legacy in football goes beyond his impressive performance on the field. He was a player who brought energy and excitement to the game, inspiring fans and players alike. Gant's "Shark Dance" celebration became a symbol of his passion for the game, and it continues to be remembered by football fans today. Off the field, Gant's contributions to his community have left a lasting impact. He has worked tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of young athletes, and his dedication to his community has inspired others to do the same.
Watch the shark in action, in the video below:
After five seasons of numerous celebratory antics and two Super Bowl wins under his belt, Kenny Gant became an unrestricted free agent. He eventually signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he provide his services for three productive years. Gant retired from the NFL after eight seasons. He played in a total of 113 games and finished with 152 total tackles and 7 interceptions.
Shark 29 Charities provides emergency transportation, shelter and counseling for battered women and their children. Through partnerships with hotels, police departments and transportation organizations, Shark 29 Charities provides the transitional resources necessary to keep families safe while help them find longer term residential and job assistance.
One way you can help is by participating in the annual “Shark Shootout.” All net proceeds will benefit Shark 29 Charities. Whether or not you golf, please join us for an exciting day — great food and drink, mixing and mingling with celebrities and various contests and auctions benefiting “the relentless pursuit of safety for women & children”.
I hope God lays it on your heart to join me in helping families plagued by domestic violence. To sponsor our golf tournament, or to assist the Shark 29 Charities in any way, please contact today by going to Shark29.org
Thanks for the memories, Shark!!