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Hardy Otto Nickerson #56

One of the most popular and hard-working Buccaneers ever

Player Spotlight....

Linebacker

Born.... September 1, 1965 in Compton, California, U.S.

Brief.... Height 6'2" Weight 230lbs

College..... California

NFL Draft..... 1987 / Round: 5 | Pick: 122

Buccaneers Career..... 1993 - 1999 | Acquired as unrestricted free agent - Pittsburgh Steelers

Ended Career By..... 2000 Unrestricted free agent - to Jacksonville

Nickerson is an American football coach and former player. He played as linebacker for four teams over 16 seasons, from 1987 to 2002, in the National Football League (NFL). Nickerson spent the prime of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The hiring of head coaches Sam Wyche and Tony Dungy allowed Nickerson to play in the middle in a 4–3 defense for both coaches; Nickerson played in a 3–4 defense with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While playing in the 4–3, Nickerson went to five Pro Bowls, and was selected for the National Football League 1990s All-Decade Team.

Nickerson is often considered one of the most popular & hardest-working Bucs ever and on the arrival of new coach Tony Dungy was a key team player to revitalise the new-Bucs under Dungy's leadership.

Early Life

Nickerson attended Verbum Dei High School, a Catholic school located in Watts, Los Angeles. He earned a BA degree in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.

Broadcasting & Coaching

In 2006, Nickerson became the color analyst for the Buccaneer Radio Network, teaming him with the longtime veteran play-by-play man Gene Deckerhoff.

On February 23, 2007, Nickerson was named linebackers coach of the Chicago Bears, where he coached for his former Tampa Bay position coach, Lovie Smith. On January 8, 2008, he resigned from the Bears due to health issues within his family.

On April 15, 2010, Nickerson was hired as the head football coach at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, California, a traditional powerhouse that has produced future NFL players such as Tarik Glenn, Langston Walker, Kirk Morrison, and Eric Bjornson. During Nickerson's tenure, he led the Dragons to back to back league titles and was also responsible for producing nearly 20 scholarship athletes in a period of three years. Nickerson stepped down from the head coaching position on November 18, 2013.

Nickerson was named the linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Lovie Smith on January 7, 2014. On January 23, 2016, Nickerson was hired by the San Francisco 49ers as linebackers coach under new head coach Chip Kelly. On March 10, 2016, Nickerson was hired by the University of Illinois as defensive coordinator under new head coach Lovie Smith.

Coaching Tree

NFL head coaches under whom Hardy Nickerson has served:

Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2007) and (2014–15)

Career History

As player:
1987–1992.... Pittsburgh Steelers
1993–1999.... Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2000–2001.... Jacksonville Jaguars
2002.... Green Bay Packers
As coach:
2007.... Chicago Bears (linebackers coach)
2010-2013.... Bishop O'Dowd HS CA (head coach)
2014-2015.... Tampa Bay Buccaneers (linebackers coach)
2016–present.... Illinois (defensive coordinator)

Career Highlights & Awards

1990.... NFL 1990s All-Decade Team
1993.... All-Pro
1993.... Pro Bowl
1996.... All-Pro
1996.... Pro Bowl
1997.... All-Pro 1997.... Pro Bowl
1997.... "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year
1998.... Pro Bowl
1999.... All-Pro
1999.... Pro Bowl

Hardy Otto Nickerson #56 Buccaneers statistics
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Games Starts Games Starts Games Starts Games Starts Games Starts Games Starts Games Starts
16 16 14 14 16 16 16 16 16 16 10 10 16 16

Interceptions
Season No. Yards Avg LG TD
1993 1 6 6.0 6 0
1994 2 9 4.5 10 0
1996 2 24 12.0 17 0
1999 2 18 9.0 18 0
Total 7 57 7.4 18 0
Sacks Passes Defensed
Season No. Season No.
1993 1.0 1993 6
1994 1.0 1994 3
1995 1.5 1995 5
1996 3.0 1996 6
1997 1.0 1997 4
1998 1.0 1998 1
1999 0.5 1999 6
Total 9.0 Total 31
Tackles
Season Solo Asst Total
1993 124 90 214
1994 86 36 122
1995 89 54 143
1996 76 44 120
1997 108 86 194
1998 50 44 94
1999 70 71 141
Total 603 425 1,028
Special Teams Tackles
Season Solo Asst Total
1993 1 1
Total 1 1
Hardy Otto Nickerson #56 Career Highlights

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