Bethea in 2010
|No. 41 – Arizona Cardinals|
July 27, 1984 |
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||206 lb (93 kg)|
|High school:||Newport News (VA) Denbigh|
|NFL Draft:||2006 / Round: 6 / Pick: 207|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2017|
Antoine Akeem Bethea (//; born July 27, 1984) is an American football safety for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Howard and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Bethea has also played for the San Francisco 49ers. He has been selected for the Pro Bowl three times and won Super Bowl XLI as a member of the Colts.
He attended Denbigh High School in Newport News, Virginia where he was a three-year letterman in football and also lettered in basketball, where he earned all-area and All-conference honors in his senior year.
Bethea attended Howard University, where he majored in administration of justice, and played for the Howard Bison football team. He started 31 of 37 games at safety. His freshman year, he saw action in five games as a backup in the secondary collecting 13 total tackles. He would have a career-best 109 total tackles his sophomore year while seeing action as a starter in 10 of 11 games that year. That year, he had three games where he tallied 13 tackles and another game against Bethune-Cookman where he made 14 tackles. He ended that year also adding one sack, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, six pass deflections and a blocked kick.
He would record three interceptions his junior year, along with two sacks, four forced fumbles and eight pass deflections in 11 starts. Ending the year with 99 total tackles and two sacks, Bethea would earn All-Mid-Eastern Conference honors and selection to the American Urban Radio Network Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College All-American Team joining the likes of NFL greats such as former Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans quarterback and NFL MVP Steve McNair and NFL tight end, Shannon Sharpe. He would earn these honors three years in a row.
Bethea would continue his success in his senior season, collecting 88 tackles, six passes defensed and a career-high four interceptions in 10 games. This would mark the third straight year he would lead his team in tackles. His senior season performance would earn him 1st-Team All-America honors from the NFL Draft Report.
As a three-year starter at Howard, Bethea made 309 stops that included 187 solo tackles and twelve for a loss, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 18 passes defensed and seven interceptions. He also returned two recoveries for a touchdown: one coming on a blocked kick and the other on a fumble recovery, both returned 26 yards.
|Ht||Wt||40‑yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20‑ss||3‑cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 11 in
|4.39 s||4.13 s||6.99 s||36.5 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
Bethea saw action at both free and strong safety for the Colts in 2006, starting 14 games as a rookie. Alongside All-Pro safety Bob Sanders, Bethea helped the Colts' secondary manage the NFL's 2nd-ranked pass defense, surrendering just 159.3 YPG. In a week 3 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bethea made 12 total tackles, including 8 solo stops and one pass deflection. His best performance coming against the New England Patriots in week 9, he made 11 tackles and intercepted quarterback Tom Brady for his first career pick in the 27-20 win. Bethea nabbed two more picks in the 2006 post season, which saw his Colts go to Super Bowl XLI where they defeated the Chicago Bears 29-17. Bethea helped in the Colts' secondary limiting quarterback Rex Grossman to 165 yards passing while he was intercepted twice. He made four tackles in the game and made a pass deflection. Bethea's play during the 2006 season was so good that the Colts allowed safety Mike Doss to leave the team to test free agency.
Bethea would miss three games in his second year due to injury but still managed to put together a Pro Bowl year, collecting 95 total tackles and a team-leading 4 interceptions in 13 starts. His stellar performance included three double-digit tackle games and five-plus tackles in 11 games at the free safety position. Again the Colts finished the year with the 2nd-ranked pass defense in the league for the 2007 season. After Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu was unable to make the trip to Honolulu, Hawaii for the 2008 Pro Bowl due to injury, Bethea was selected as an alternate in his place, making the trip with teammates Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, and Jeff Saturday.
Through midseason, Bethea managed to be the only starter in the Colts' secondary to start every game to that point with Sanders going down for six games and starting cornerback Marlin Jackson going down for the season after Week 8. Colts coach Tony Dungy stated in an interview that he believes Bethea can be "that ball-skills safety that can have eight or nine picks in a year." Bethea was credited with 126 total tackles at the end of the season and also intercepted two passes during the season, one coming in the last minute of a game against the Cleveland Browns which sealed the victory for the Colts.
Bethea started all 16 games and earned his second Pro Bowl nomination of his career. Bethea led the Colts with 120 tackles, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and four passes defended. In the divisional round of the playoffs against the Baltimore Ravens, Bethea recorded three tackles, two passes defended, and an interception. This was his fourth career postseason interception and ranks third-most in franchise history. He had five tackles in the AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets and four tackles against the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.
Bethea again led team in tackles with 106. He also had 0.5 sacks, one pick, five passes defended, and a forced fumble. In the wild card game against the Jets, Bethea recorded seven tackles and one forced fumble.
Bethea had a career-high 139 tackles, ranking second on the Colts. He also had a career-high 7 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.
Bethea had 100 tackles, ranking second on the Colts. He also had a career-high with 2 sacks and tied career-high with 7 passes defended.
Bethea had a career-high of 48 interception yards in the 2013 season.
On March 12, 2014 Bethea signed a 4-year, $23 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers. On December 20, 2014, Bethea intercepted a pass by San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and returned it 49 yards for the touchdown, his first career "pick six". He started all 16 games and earned his third Pro Bowl nomination of his career.
Bethea was placed on the Injured Reserve List on October 23, 2015 due to a torn pectoral muscle sustained in a Week 7 game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Bethea started all 16 games in 2016 recording 110 tackles, three passes defensed, one forced fumble, and one interception.
On March 7, 2017, Bethea was released by the 49ers.
On March 9, 2017, Bethea signed a three-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. He played in 15 games with six starts in his first season in Arizona, recording 57 tackles and a career-high five interceptions. He suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week 16 and was placed on injured reserve on December 26, 2017.
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