Willie McGinest, one of the best linebackers for the Patriots in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a three-time Super Bowl champion, and the record holder for the most sacks in NFL playoff games.
Willie McGinest' Bio
William Lee McGinest was born on December 11, 1971, in Long Beach, California. Even in his school years, he became a star not only in his city but also in the entire state. In 1990, he enrolled at the University of Southern California, where he played four seasons as a defensive end, making 193 tackles and 29 sacks. He was selected multiple times for the All-Conference team and became a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award, given to the best college football player, in his senior year.
How good was Willie McGinest
In the 1994 NFL Draft, McGinest was selected with the fourth overall pick. The Patriots became the main team in his career, and Willie became one of the cornerstones of their defense in the early years of the team's Golden Age. He played as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme and could also fulfill the role of a defensive end when needed. He won the Super Bowl three times with the team—XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX. He was selected to the Pro Bowl twice, in 1996 and 2003.
In the 2005 season, McGinest set two league records, recording 4.5 sacks in a single playoff game and bringing his total playoff sack count to 16. Overall, he recorded 78 sacks with the Patriots, which is one of the best results in the franchise's history. McGinest left New England in the spring of 2006 and played three more seasons for the Cleveland Browns under the guidance of his former coach, Romeo Crennel.
In Cleveland, he had slightly different responsibilities, and he did not display the same level of productivity on defense. He retired in the summer of 2009. He was named to the All-Decade Teams of the 1990s and 2000s by the league. Since 2015, McGinest has been inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame.
After his playing career, Willie worked as an analyst for Fox and ESPN before transitioning to the NFL Network. He is involved in charitable work. He has a Los Angeles-based company that he founded and manages, which produces various entertainment programs.