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E. J. Junior

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Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1959-12-08) December 8, 1959 (age 60)
Place of birth: Salisbury, North Carolina
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Career information
High school: Nashville (TN) Maplewood
College: Alabama
NFL draft: 1981 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
Career highlights and awards
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Ester James Junior, III (born December 8, 1959) is a former American college and professional football player who was a linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for thirteen seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. Junior played college football for the University of Alabama, and earned All-American honors. He was selected in the first round of the 1981 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Seattle Seahawks.

Early years

Junior was born in Salisbury, North Carolina, and grew up in Nashville, Tennessee.[1]

College career

Junior attended the University of Alabama, where he played for coach Bear Bryant's Alabama Crimson Tide football team from 1977 to 1980. As a senior in 1980, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. He was also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Professional career

The St. Louis Cardinals chose Junior in the first round (fourth pick overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft, and he played for Cardinals from 1981 to 1988. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection for the Cardinals in 1984 and 1985. He subsequently played for the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks.

Post-playing career

Since leaving the NFL, Junior has been the executive director of youth programs in Miami under the NBA's Alonzo Mourning. He also spent time back in the NFL as a coach and in the front office. He was the Seattle Seahawks linebacker coach in 1994 and then was the director of player development programs for the Miami Dolphins from 1996-1998. He has been a minority intern coach for the Minnesota Vikings (2003) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2005) and coached in NFL Europe for the Rhein Fire in Düsseldorf, Germany. On the college setting, he coached the linebackers at the 2005 and 2006 East-West Shrine Game.

From 2006 to 2009, Junior was the linebackers coach at Southwest Baptist University [2] He was promoted to defensive coordinator in February 2009, but left a month later to become head coach at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.[3]

In May 2012, he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.