Neither Phillip Rivers nor Justin Tuck played college football in the state of Alabama. But both grew their roots here on the prep fields of the state and went on to outstanding careers in the NFL. For their accomplishments, both have been included in the latest class to be selected for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham.
The 54th annual ASHOF induction banquet will take place May 7th at the ballroom of the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel. Rivers and Tuck will be inducted with six others - Doyle Alexander, William Andrews, Keith Askins, Rusty Greer, Patrick Murphy and Jake Peavy.
Phillip Rivers was a record-setting quarterback at North Carolina State before entering the NFL. With the Wolfpack, Rivers was the ACC Player of the Year in 2003 and the conference’s Athlete of the Year in 2004. The fourth player picked in the 2004 NFL Draft, Rivers was traded by the New York Giants for the first player picked, Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning, who had balked at playing for the San Diego Chargers. After two seasons as Drew Brees’ backup, Rivers became the Chargers’ starting QB in 2006, and he started every game of his career after the 2006 season opener – 240 regular-season and 12 playoff games in a row (spending his final season with the Indianapolis Colts). Among NFL quarterbacks, only Brett Favre posted a longer streak as a starter. An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Rivers completed 5,277-of-8,134 passes for 63,440 yards with 421 touchdowns and 209 interceptions in 244 regular-season games. Rivers left the NFL ranked fifth in completions, passing yards and touchdown passes in league history.
Justin Tuck was an All-State tight end in 1999 and the Class 4A Player of the Year in 2000 at Central-Coosa. The Kellyton native also led the Cougars to the AHSAA Class 4A boys’ basketball championship in 2001. Tuck went to Notre Dame as a linebacker, but after a switch to defensive end, he set Fighting Irish records for single-season and career sacks. Tuck joined the New York Giants as a third-round choice in the 2005 NFL Draft. He played on two Super Bowl winners as the Giants capped the 2007 and 2011 seasons by earning the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Tuck had four sacks in the Super Bowl victories. He was an All-Pro defensive end in 2008, selected for the Pro Bowl again in 2010, recorded 66.5 sacks during his NFL career and joined the Giants Ring of Honor in 2016. Tuck played in 11 NFL seasons, spending the final two with the Oakland Raiders.