Shannon Sharpe is the opposite of Jason Witten in at least one way: he’s had quite the productive “retirement” building a second career as a studio analyst and television sports talk personality. He was a commentator and roundtable host for CBS Sports before getting his own show on FS1, “Undisputed,” along with Skip Bayless.
Before any of that, though, Sharpe was revolutionizing the tight end position as a player in the NFL. Drafted in the seventh round of the 1990 draft by the Denver Broncos, Sharpe spent 12 seasons playing in Mile High City and had another two with the Baltimore Ravens right around the turn of the millennium.
His laundry list of accomplishments include winning the Super Bowl three times, going to the Pro Bowl eight times, being named an All-Pro five times, and finishing his career as the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns by a tight end (those records would later be broken by Witten and another player on this list).
When considering the evolution of the tight end position, Sharpe’s name should probably be the first to come to mind. Before him, tight ends were often lunky, lumbering bruisers that did more in the run game or in pass protection than truly serving as a primary receiving threat.
Because of his sheer athleticism and his savvy route-running abilities, though, Sharpe proved that tight ends could be just as dangerous – if not more so – than receivers in the vertical passing game.