Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila was a one-trick pony for the Green Bay Packers. Remembered as an outstanding pass rusher and sack artist, Gbaja-Biamila will be inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame today. Gbaja-Biamila was more than a valuable asset on the field, but off of it as well.
Gbaja-Biamila, who grew up in Los Angeles, California, attended Crenshaw High School in the 1990’s. After the infamous Los Angeles riots in 1992, Gbaja-Biamila, a high school student at the time, became a student owner of “Food From the Hood”. The business became very successful, grew rapidly, and the company launched a line of salad dressings which appeared in nearly all major Southern California grocery chains. “Food From the Hood” received Newsweek’ magazine’s “American Achievement Award”, and Gbaja-Biamila was showcased in the magazine’s issue.
Gbaja-Biamila attended San Diego State University, and was a three-year starter for the Aztecs football team. Gbaja-Biamila was a natural at finding the quarterback, recording a school record 33 sacks, and earning 1st-team All-Mountain West Conference honors in his final three seasons.
In the 2000 NFL Draft, the Packers selected Gbaja-Biamila in the 5th round (149th overall pick). Despite proving himself as one of college football’s best statistical rush-ends in the late 1990’s, NFL teams feared he was too inexperienced to play outside linebacker, and he wasn’t bulky enough to play defensive end in the NFL.
Despite his 6’4, 249-pound frame, Gbaja-Biamila, who coined the nickname “KGB” while playing for the Packers, played defensive end for the Packers. After rarely playing as a rookie, KGB quickly became one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers of the early 2000’s. From 2001-2004, KGB recorded 49 sacks, recording at least 10 sacks in each of those four seasons. KGB is the only Packer player in team history to record ten sacks in four consecutive seasons.
KGB was selected to the 2003 Pro Bowl, and he was 2nd in the NFC in total sacks in 2004 (13.5). In 2006, Gbaja-Biamila was demoted to the second-string group, but he accepted the role of becoming the Packers’ pass-rushing specialist for the next two and a half seasons. In his specialist role, KGB recorded 16 sacks.
During the 2007 season, Gbaja-Biamila broke Reggie White’s all-time Packers career sack record with 69 sacks (KGB finished with 74.5 career sacks with Green Bay). In November 2008, the Packers cut Gbaja-Biamila after defensive tackle Justin Harrell was activated off of the Player-Unable-to-Perform List. After nine seasons with the Packers, Gbaja-Biamila retired from the NFL. For a fifth-round draft pick, Gbaja-Biamila excelled not only on, but off the field as well while representing the Packers.
In 2002, Gbaja-Biamila received the NFL’s “Ed Block Courage Award”, an annual award given to one NFL player for sportsmanship and great courage. Only days after his mother passed away in a tragic car accident, Gbaja-Biamila delivered a memorable performance in honor of his mother against the Minnesota Vikings, recording six tackles, one sack, and forcing one fumble in the Packers’ narrow 26-22 victory over the Vikings at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
After his retirement in 2008, Gbaja-Biamila began serving on the board of directors at Green Bay’s Freedom House. A shelter for homeless families, Freedom House has helped over 100 families and 250 children overcome homelessness, moving families into stable permanent homes and gaining employment.Chris Jacke, Crenshaw High School, Ed Block Courage Award, Emil Fischer, Football, Green Bay, Green Bay Packers, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Lambeau Field, NFL, San Diego State University
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