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September 12, 1959 |
Riverside, New Jersey
|High school:||Palmyra (NJ)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Deron Leigh Cherry (born September 12, 1959) is a retired professional American football strong safety who played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1981 to 1991. Deron was a free safety and punter at Rutgers University. In 1979, he was named the team’s MVP. In 1979 and 1980, Cherry earned AP All-East honors. In 1981, he was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, as a free agent punter, but was released in the final cutdown. Deron rejoined the club in late September as a safety, and made his first interception in October against the Oakland Raiders.
Regarded as one of the best free safeties to have ever played the game, he was a six-time Pro Bowl selection from 1983–1988, starting in five of them in his 11 years with the Chiefs. Few other Chiefs players have been selected to this number of Pro Bowls. He had six 100 tackle seasons in his eleven years as a member of the Chiefs, with a career total of 927 tackles. He was a 5 time All-Pro in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1988. He was also a five-time 1st team All-AFC and two time 2nd team All-AFC selection. Cherry's 15 career fumble recoveries place him in a three-way tie for the Chiefs record. He ranks third on the Chiefs list of most interceptions, and is only the 26th player in the history of the NFL to reach the 50 interception plateau. In 1987, he was selected to the Chiefs 25 year All-Time Team.
In 1987, he won the Byron "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year Award. Prior to receiving this award, he was the Chiefs NFL Man of the Year selection in 1987. This is the most prestigious award given by the NFL Players Association.
He is actively involved in several civic organizations, including Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Project Warmth, Score 1 for Health, and the United Negro College Fund. Throughout the past 25 years Deron has hosted his Celebrity Invitational. This tournament has raised over $3 million to support the children of the Kansas City area. Cherry is a frequent guest speaker at civic, charitable, and corporate events throughout the country.
In 1995, Cherry became a limited ownership partner in one of the NFL’s then-new expansion teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars. This made him the first minority owner of an NFL franchise in the league's history. Cherry is also a managing general partner with United Beverage, a local Anheuser-Busch distributor.
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