By Alan Robinson
Several years ago, Dick LeBeau traveled to Canton to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
This time, the Hall of Fame is coming to LeBeau — or, at least, to his hometown.
LeBeau will be the latest Hall of Famer with Steelers ties to be honored via the “Hometown Hall of Famer” program. On Wednesday, a plaque denoting LeBeau’s Hall of Fame selection will be unveiled at his alma mater, London (Ohio) High School. LeBeau will accept the award and talk to the school’s students in the gymnasium, where the plaque will be displayed.
A highway sign recognizing London as LeBeau’s hometown also will be installed.
Bob LeBeau, a former London High quarterback and LeBeau’s brother, will make the presentation, which will be attended by some of LeBeau’s friends and former high school teammates.
After playing at London High, LeBeau played for coach Woody Hayes at Ohio State and was a member of the Buckeyes’ 1957 national championship team. A fifth round pick by the Browns in 1969, LeBeau — a defensive back — was cut during rookie camp but went on to sign with the Detroit Lions. He became a starter midway through his rookie season and remained one the rest of his career.
LeBeau went on to become one of the best defensive backs in NFL history, making 62 interceptions during his 185-game career. He had at least three interceptions in 12 consecutive seasons. At the time he retired in 1972, LeBeau ranked third in interceptions in NFL history.
LeBeau later became the Bengals head coach and an assistant for the Steelers, Bengals, Eagles, Packers and Bills. He has been the Steelers defensive coordinator for 11 seasons, in 1995-96 and every season since 2004.
LeBeau was passed over for the Hall of Fame numerous times before being inducted as a senior nominee in 2010. The entire Steelers team attended the ceremony.
The Hometown Hall of Famer program is conducted by the Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance.