It is difficult to measure the performance of offensive linemen by statistics.
They do not generally gain yards.
One way to assess the performance of an offensive lineman is by examining the statistics and achievements of the “skill position” players for whom he blocked.
Joe DeLamielleure is one of the very few offensive linemen in NFL history who blocked for both a 2,000-yard runner, and a 4,000-yard passer, each of whom won an NFL Most Valuable award.
For this fact, as well as multiple Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors over a 13-year career with the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, DeLamielleure was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
We take a look at the life of Joe DeLamielleure – before, during, and after his NFL career.
The Early Years Through High School
Joseph Michael DeLamielleure was born on March 16, 1951 in Detroit, Michigan.
DeLamielleure was the ninth of 10 children (and youngest son) of Alphonse and Mary DeLamielleure.
DeLamielleure explained how growing up in such a large family toughened him up.
“I slept with two of my brothers and I was a bed wetter. They beat the hell out of me.”
Alphonse DeLamielleure founded and operated the Victory Inn, a restaurant and bar, in Warren, Michigan.
Even as a child, DeLamielleure worked at the Victory Inn, filling salt and pepper shakers.
In his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech, DeLamielleure recognized his father.
“[M]y Dad had a bar, I think it was 43 years that he worked it – from 7 in the morning to 2:30 at night, open seven days a week except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. He taught me the meaning of work and what it meant. He was a dedicated dad who cared about his kids.”
DeLamielleure also recognized his mother in his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech.
“My mother taught me two things. My mother taught me teamwork and how to pray – two very important things. Teamwork came from this – one bathroom, no lock, 10 kids. We learned to share early, and I appreciate her.”
DeLamielleure was a fan of Detroit sports teams growing up, and he can still recite lineups from these teams.
In 1962, his father, Alphonse, took DeLamielleure to the Detroit Lions’ annual Thanksgiving Day game and told DeLamielleure that he would one day play in the game.
Alphonse’s prediction would prove to be true.
St. Clement High School
DeLamielleure attended St. Clement High School, a catholic high school, in Center Line, Michigan.
St. Clement High School was part of St. Clement Catholic School, which offered schooling from kindergarten through high school.
DeLamielleure played baseball, basketball, and football at St. Clement High School.
In his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech, DeLamielleure recalled his time playing football at St. Clement High School.
“I want to thank the school that I went to – Center Line St. Clement – twelve years. . . . [W]hat a great place. The toughest games I ever played were at St. Clement’s – the pads were weren’t worth a crap – forgive my French. We used to fight for the white shoulder pads and if you were bad, you got a pair of red set and you broke your shoulder. But, it made you tough and I appreciate it.”
At St. Clement High School, DeLamielleure starred as a fullback, helping his team win the Detroit Catholic League’s East Division championship.
Al Baumgart, DeLamielleure’s coach at St. Clement High School said:
“Joe never gave up at anything. He always gave his best. An East Detroit coach once even called him an animal – but in a good way.”
DeLamielleure was recruited by many colleges throughout the country to play college football.
A little-known fact about DeLamielleure is that on a University of Miami recruiting trip, he was in Miami, Florida and attended Super Bowl III on January 12, 1969 – the famous 16-7 upset by the New York Jets (quarterbacked by Joe Namath) of the Baltimore Colts.
DeLamielleure finally narrowed his college choice to three schools – University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, and Michigan State University.
DeLamielleure’s father, Alphonse, influenced his son’s college decision.
“I said, ‘Dad, I want to go to Michigan [’] and he said, ‘No, I don’t want you to go there cause I can’t pronounce that guy’s name [Michigan head coach Bo Schembechler]’. Then I said, ‘Ok, I’m going to Notre Dame [’]. He says, ‘No that coach (Ara Parseghian) is a phony, a Protestant coaching at a Catholic School. You go to Michigan State – Duffy (Daugherty) is a Catholic [’]. That’s how I ended up at Michigan State. True story.”
DeLamielleure played football from 1970 to 1972 at Michigan State University.
Coached by legendary Spartans coach Duffy Daugherty (in the last three years of Daugherty’s coaching career), DeLamielleure started at guard as a sophomore, junior, and senior.
In 1970, DeLamielleure was voted second-team All-Big Ten by the Associated Press. Michigan State had a 4-6 record in 1970.
In 1971, DeLamielleure was voted first-team All-Big Ten by the Associated Press and United Press International.
DeLamielleure was part of an offensive line that helped Michigan State running back Eric Allen rush for 1,494 yards (and 5.8 average yards per rushing attempt).
In a 43-10 Spartans victory over Purdue on October 30, 1971, Allen rushed for 350 yards (a then NCAA record).
Michigan State had a 6-5 record in 1971.
In 1972, DeLamielleure was voted first-team All-America by Sporting News and second-team All-America by the Associated Press.
In addition, in 1972, DeLamielleure was again voted first-team All-Big Ten by the Associated Press and United Press International.
In a 19-12 Michigan State upset defeat of fifth-ranked Ohio State on November 11, 1972, DeLamielleure helped Michigan State as a team rush for 334 yards.
In 1972, Michigan State had a 5-5-1 record.
After the 1972 season, DeLamielleure played in the East-West Shrine Bowl and Senior Bowl (where he was coached by Bills head coach Lou Saban and offensive line coach Jim Ringo) college football all-star games and then headed to his professional football career.
The Pro Football Years
DeLamielleure was drafted in the first round of the 1973 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills (with the 26th overall pick).
#OTD in 1972 the Buffalo Bills get the Miami Dolphins 1973 1st round pick after Miami signs Marlin “the Magician” Briscoe to a free agent contract. That pick will be used to select Joe DeLamielleure pic.twitter.com/uEzTrKaGu3
— ThisDateInBuffaloSportsHistory (@BuffSportsHstry) June 7, 2019
DeLamielleure had a scare during his rookie physical when an apparent heart irregularity caused him to be held out of practice, while he was re-tested.
Fortunately, the scare turned out to be a “false alarm”, and DeLamielleure was able to begin his NFL career.
With Buffalo, DeLamielleure became a member of one of the iconically-named offensive lines in NFL history – “The Electric Company.”
The name was associated with the offensive line blocking for future Pro Football Hall of Fame Bills running back O.J. “Juice” Simpson, as “The Electric Company” was able to “turn on the juice”.
DeLamielleure was right guard on “The Electric Company”, generally joined by Dave Foley at left tackle, Reggie McKenzie at left guard, Mike Montler at center, Donnie Green at right tackle, and Paul Seymour at tight end.
As a rookie, DeLamielleure immediately became a fixture at right guard for the Bills, starting all 14 regular-season games for the Bills in 1973.
DeLamielleure was part of a Bills offensive line that contributed to the Bills leading the NFL in rushing yards in 1973.
The total of 3,088 rushing yards for the Bills remains the NFL record for team rushing yards in a 14-game season.
The key beneficiary of the Bills rushing attack in 1973 was O.J. Simpson.
DeLamielleure helped Simpson lead the NFL in rushing in 1973 with over 2,000 (2,003) rushing yards, also an NFL record for a 14-game season.
Simpson ran for 6.0 average yards per rushing attempt in 1973.
Simpson also was voted Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player, Sporting News AFC Player of the Year, and Newspaper Enterprise Association NFL Most Valuable Player, in 1973.
DeLamielleure also was on the Bills’ kickoff return team in 1973 and helped Bills kickoff returner Wallace Francis lead the NFL with two kickoff-return touchdowns.
The Bills had a 9-5 record in 1973 and just missed making the playoffs.
In 1974, DeLamielleure again started all 14 regular-season games for the Bills and assisted O.J. Simpson in rushing for 1,125 yards (third in the NFL).
DeLamielleure was voted second-team All-Pro by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.
The Bills matched their 9-5 record in 1974, but in 1974, it was good enough for the Bills to make the playoffs as a wild card team.
However, on December 22, 1974, Buffalo lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 32-14 (with DeLamielleure starting the game at right guard).
Unfortunately for DeLamielleure, the 1974 playoff game against the Steelers was to be his only playoff action with the Bills.
The Bills finished the next five seasons with regular-season records of 8-6 in 1975, 2-12 in 1976, 3-11 in 1977, 5-11 in 1978, and 7-9 in 1979.
— ThisDateInBuffaloSportsHistory (@BuffSportsHstry) March 16, 2020
However, DeLamielleure (who continued to start every regular-season game for the Bills from 1975 through 1979, as he did in 1973 and 1974) achieved significant personal success during his remaining five years with the Bills.
In 1975, DeLamielleure’s play contributed to the Bills leading the NFL in all of the categories of points scored (420), offensive yards (5,467), and rushing yards (2,974), the Bills being ranked second in the NFL in allowing only 22 sacks, and O.J. Simpson (who again was voted Sporting News AFC Player of the Year) leading the NFL in rushing yards (1,817) and average yards per rushing attempt (5.5).
DeLamielleure was invited to his first Pro Bowl, and was voted first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press, the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly, and first-team All-Conference by the Associated Press, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News, and United Press International, in 1975.
In 1976, DeLamielleure helped O.J. Simpson lead the NFL in rushing yards for the second consecutive year and third time in four years, with 1,503 yards.
273 of O.J. Simpson’s rushing yards (then an NFL single-game record) came in a November 25, 1976 Thanksgiving Day 27-14 Bills loss to the Detroit Lions.
DeLamielleure fulfilled his father’s prediction by playing in the game.
DeLamielleure’s father, Alphonse, had suffered a heart attack, and DeLamielleure did not expect his father to attend the Thanksgiving Day game.
However, Alphonse was waiting for his son outside the locker room.
“I said, ‘Dad, what are you doing here? You shouldn’t even be here, are you crazy?’ He said, ‘Don’t you remember what I said in 1962? I wasn’t going to miss this for the world.’ That’s a true story.”
DeLamielleure was invited to his second consecutive Pro Bowl, and was voted first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press, the Newspaper Enterprise Association, the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly, and first-team All-Conference by the Associated Press, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News, and United Press International, in 1976.
O.J. Simpson was injured during the 1977 season, which definitely adversely affected the production of the Bills running game in 1977.
However, DeLamielleure’s play helped the Buffalo offense convert to a passing attack, as the Bills as a team (2,530 passing yards), and Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson individually (2,803 passing yards), both led the NFL in passing yards in 1977.
DeLamielleure was invited to his third consecutive Pro Bowl, and was voted first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press, the Newspaper Enterprise Association, the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly, first-team All-Conference by Pro Football Weekly and Sporting News, and second-team All-Conference by United Press International, in 1977.
Buffalo traded away O.J. Simpson before the beginning of the 1978 season.
Nevertheless, DeLamielleure contributed to the Bills having a 1,000-yard rusher in 1978 – running back Terry Miller, with 1,060 yards.
In 1978, DeLamielleure was invited to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl and was voted first-team All-Pro by the Newspaper Enterprise Association, the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly, second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press, and first-team All-Conference by Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News, and United Press International.
In DeLamielleure’s final season with the Bills in 1979, his play assisted in the Bills having a 1,000-yard receiver – wide receiver Frank Lewis, who caught 54 passes for 1,082 yards (ranked fifth in the NFL).
In 1979, DeLamielleure was invited to his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl and was voted first-team All-Pro by the Newspaper Enterprise Association and the Pro Football Writers Association, second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press, and first-team All-Conference by Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News, and United Press International.
Cleveland Browns fans will note that the Browns had a 2-1 regular-season record against DeLamielleure while he played with the Bills from 1973 to 1979.
Cleveland lost to Buffalo 15-10 on November 24, 1974 (as the Bills rushed for 188 yards and allowed no sacks in the game), but then defeated the Bills 27-16 on October 23, 1977 (although the Bills rushed for 162 yards in the game) and 41-20 on October 29, 1978.
On July 28, 1980, for his play with the Bills, DeLamielleure was named as one of the starting guards on the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1970s Team.
However, just over a month later, despite DeLamielleure’s achievements with the Bills, Buffalo decided to trade him.
On September 1, 1980, just before the start of the 1980 season, the Bills traded DeLamielleure to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the Browns’ second-round draft pick in 1981 and third-round draft pick in 1982.
#OTD in 1980 the Buffalo Bills ship off disgruntled guard Joe DeLamielleure to the Cleveland Browns for a 1981 2nd round draft pick. The future hall of famer Joe D will play five seasons in Cleveland before returning to the Bills in 1985 for one season. pic.twitter.com/LpgU4z7ETO
— ThisDateInBuffaloSportsHistory (@BuffSportsHstry) September 1, 2019
In his first year with the Browns in 1980, DeLamielleure played in all 16, and started 13, regular-season games.
— Downtown Browns (@DowntownBrowns_) July 8, 2020
It was a great year to be in Cleveland, as the Browns made the playoffs for the first time since 1972, winning the 1980 AFC Central Division title with an 11-5 record.
Helped by DeLamielleure, the Browns as a team in 1980 finished second in the NFL in both passing yards (3,915) and sacks allowed (23).
In addition, in 1980, DeLamielleure’s play contributed to Browns quarterback Brian Sipe passing for over 4,000 (4,132) yards, which ranked second in the NFL in 1980.
Sipe also led the NFL in 1980 in the passing categories of interception percentage (2.5%) and passer rating (91.4).
Sipe also was voted Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player and Sporting News NFL Player of the Year in 1980.
DeLamielleure also helped Browns running back Mike Pruitt rush for 1,034 rushing yards in 1980.
For DeLamielleure, already a member of “The Electric Company,” being on the 1980 Cleveland Browns gave him the opportunity to be associated with another team nickname as a member of “The Kardiac Kids”, a name given to the 1980 Cleveland Browns for having several games decided in their final moments.
For DeLamielleure and the Browns, their only 1980 playoff game was another close game, but a losing one, as Cleveland lost in the divisional round of the playoffs on January 4, 1981 to the Oakland Raiders 14-12.
DeLamielleure started the game at right guard for the Browns and recovered a fumble (one of eight fumble recoveries by DeLamielleure in his regular season and playoff NFL career).
The playoff game is known for a controversial decision by Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano to call a pass play (“Red Right 88”) late in the game, resulting in a Raiders interception that sealed the defeat for the Browns.
“I heard (the ball) go ‘whoosh’ by me. I’ve got a fat head. I wish the ball would’ve hit me in the head.”
The loss still bothers DeLamielleure, who calls the 1980 Browns “the best team I ever played on.”
For his play in 1980, DeLamielleure was invited to his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl, and was voted first-team All-Pro by the Pro Football Writers Association and Sporting News, second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press, and first-team All-Conference by Pro Football Weekly and United Press International.
In 1981, DeLamielleure started all 16 regular-season games for Cleveland.
Although the Browns missed the playoffs with a 5-11 record, DeLamielleure assisted in the Browns being ranked fourth in the NFL in passing yards (3,986), Brian Sipe being ranked third in the NFL in passing yards (3,876), Mike Pruitt rushing for 1,103 yards, and Browns tight end Ozzie Newsome catching 69 passes for 1,002 yards.
DeLamielleure was voted second-team All-Conference by United Press International in 1981.
In the strike-shortened 1982 NFL season, DeLamielleure started all nine regular-season games for the Browns.
DeLamielleure’s play helped Ozzie Newsome catch 49 passes for 633 yards (ranked seventh in receiving yards in the NFL) in 1982.
Cleveland finished the 1982 regular season with a 4-5 record, but, with an expanded playoff system in use in 1982, it was sufficient for the Browns to make the playoffs as a wild card team.
However, on January 8, 1983, the Browns (with DeLamielleure starting the game at right guard for Cleveland) lost in the 1982 playoffs to the Los Angeles Raiders 27-10.
In 1983, Cleveland had a 9-7 record, but failed to make the playoffs.
DeLamielleure contributed to the Browns as a team ranking sixth in the NFL in passing yards (3,661) and tied for forth in the NFL in sacks allowed (33), Brian Sipe individually ranking sixth in the NFL in passing yards (3,566), Mike Pruitt rushing for 1,184 yards, and Ozzie Newsome catching 89 passes (ranked second in the NFL in receptions) for 970 yards.
DeLamielleure again started all 16 regular-season games for the Browns in 1983 and was voted second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.
The Browns in 1984 had a 5-11 record.
For the fourth consecutive year, DeLamielleure started every regular-season game for Cleveland.
DeLamielleure helped Browns quarterback Paul McDonald rank eighth in the NFL in passing yards (3,472), and Ozzie Newsome catch 89 passes (ranked second in the NFL in receptions) for 1,001 yards, in 1984.
DeLamielleure’s last regular-season game with Cleveland was a 27-20 Browns victory over the Houston Oilers on December 16, 1984.
DeLamielleure assisted in the Browns rushing for 254 yards in the game (including 188 rushing yards by Browns running back Earnest Byner).
DeLamielleure has happy memories of his time with the Browns.
In his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech, DeLamielleure recalled:
“Great players. Brian Sipe became the MVP. It was a great five years in Cleveland. I enjoyed them all.”
In September, 1985, DeLamielleure was waived by the Browns and claimed by his old team, the Buffalo Bills.
#OTD in 1985 after leaving a few years earlier in a contract dispute with Ralph, the Buffalo Bills bring future Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure back after the Cleveland Browns waive him. He’ll play two more seasons before retiring. pic.twitter.com/mIBaLLMfUP
— ThisDateInBuffaloSportsHistory (@BuffSportsHstry) September 16, 2019
DeLamielleure played in 10 games (starting three games) for the Bills in 1985. Buffalo had a 2-14 record in 1985 (including a 17-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns on November 17, 1985).
After the 1985 season, DeLamielleure retired from the NFL.
Six-time Pro-Bowler and future NFL Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure retires from the 1985 Buffalo Bills. pic.twitter.com/NwPjUT9Gku
— ThisDateInBuffaloSportsHistory (@BuffSportsHstry) November 27, 2018
The Years After the NFL
DeLamielleure met his wife, Gerri, in the first grade.
“I’ve never not known my wife and she’s never not known me and we’re not from West Virginia.”
DeLamielleure and Gerri have six children, including two adopted boys from South Korea.
After spending most of his life through the end of his NFL career in the Great Lakes cities of Detroit, Buffalo, and Cleveland (DeLamielleure joked,“I was always worried Gary, Ind. was going to get an expansion team”), DeLamielleure and his family settled in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.
For most NFL players, their retirement years are much less eventful than the years that they played in the NFL.
Such is hardly the case with DeLamielleure.
After his retirement, in 1991, DeLamielleure was the victim of a financial swindle.
DeLamielleure lost two restaurants and most of his life savings and nearly filed for bankruptcy.
When DeLamielleure realized the situation, he went to the FBI and agreed to wear a hidden microphone to gather evidence.
This evidence helped to convict Michael Paul Schaefer.
“I felt like a dumb jock. You know, ‘There’s just another guy who lost his money.’ I had to get over that part of it. The guy was very good. I wasn’t the only one who got scammed. I was one of 14. And I checked him out. He’s just real good, even the FBI said that. It just puts a scar on you.”
These were dark times for DeLamielleure who contemplated suicide and even wrote his wife, Gerri, a farewell note.
“I couldn’t do it, because for every day of the rest of their lives I’d be telling them [his children] I didn’t care about them. That’d be forever. They’d forever be wondering why I wimped out on them, gave up on them. But I told my wife that we had life insurance, that we should just pay off the people we owe. She was scared. She assigned a kid to me at all times. One of them had to be with me everywhere I went. Maybe that’s why God gave us so many children.”
DeLamielleure started working to return to financial stability.
Perhaps his most unique job was to return to football in 1992 with the Charlotte Rage, an expansion Arena Football League team.
DeLamielleure was not only the team’s community relations director, but at age 41 also played on both offense and defense for the Rage (earning a $500 per game salary).
Over time, DeLamielleure worked at such diverse jobs as offensive line coach at Duke University, offensive line coach at Liberty College (working under his former Cleveland Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano), football coach and head of athletic facilities at Providence Day School in Charlotte, and celebrity host for Buffalo-area casinos.
DeLamielleure even mowed lawns.
DeLamielleure started a moving company with his son and another company, “Joe D Bands”, which markets exercise stretch bands and other fitness products.
DeLamielleure even made $3,000 for fighting in a 10-round boxing match with Charlie “The Preacherman” Hopkins.
DeLamielleure’s post-NFL life has not been all about trying to make money.
DeLamielleure has also been involved in numerous charitable activities.
In 2009, alongside two former Michigan State teammates, DeLamielleure rode a bicycle 2,000 miles from East Lansing, Michigan to Mexico to raise money for an orphanage in Mexico.
DeLamielleure had never ridden a bicycle and made the whole trip without shifting from second gear.
In 2013, DeLamielleure walked 213 miles from Orchard Park, New York to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio to raise awareness for Grace’s Lamp, a Charlotte organization that helps children who grow out of their prosthetic legs and cannot afford the cost of new adult legs.
DeLamielleure has also been active in raising funds and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project (a nonprofit that helps injured soldiers).
He’s an NFL Hall of Famer. One of the best ever. Joe DeLamielleure. He is 69 and still chiseled. He does group workouts several days a week at the Waring Senior Center in West Ashley. His instructor, his son Todd.
COVID-19 took their setting. It couldn’t take their workouts. pic.twitter.com/kdmeEtliol
— Scott Eisberg (@SEisbergWCIV) July 7, 2020
One group that DeLamielleure has especially tried to help is retired NFL players.
DeLamielleure was outspoken in his criticism of former NFL Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw, who DeLamielleure felt was not doing enough to help retired NFL players.
“I said that if I got in the Hall of Fame, I would use it as a platform to do some good things, try to help people who can’t help themselves. The first thing I did was speak up for retired players.”
Speaking about then current players and the NFL Players Association, DeLamielleure said:
“They don’t give a damn about the former players. They don’t care about the history of the league or the past. It’s all about them or how much money they’re going to make. . . . They never represented us in the first place. They never settled the strike of 82[.] It’s all about the leaders of the union lining their pockets off the people who play the game. It’s all fluff.”
DeLamielleure’s wife, Gerri, has said about her husband:
“Joe is like a chipmunk on speed. He’s constantly going in seven different directions, but that’s just who he is. He’s a busy man who has to stay busy.”
DeLamielleure was added in 1997 to the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame, honoring former players, administrators and coaches who have played significant roles in Bills history.
In 2003, DeLamielleure was inducted in the Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Browns Legends Program.
In 2004, DeLamielleure was inducted in the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
DeLamielleure was inducted in the East-West Shrine Bowl Hall of Fame in 2007.
In 2010, DeLamielleure was one of the inaugural members of the Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor and had his name displayed around the upper deck of FirstEnergy Stadium (where the Browns play).
DeLamielleure was one of the first living NFL players to be tested and diagnosed with CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) disease, which is believed to be attributable to head trauma from playing football.
DeLamielleure has undergone treatments in a hyperbaric chamber, and with magnetic resonance therapy, to help with the effects of CTE disease.
DeLamielleure has pledged after his death to donate his brain to researchers at Boston University to study CTE.
DeLamielleure’s NFL Legacy
DeLamielleure received his greatest post-NFL honor when he was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
DeLamielleure was presented for induction by Buffalo sports columnist Larry Felser.
“By the end of his rookie season, Joe D had opened the holes through which Simpson ran to set the NFL’s then all-time seasonal rushing record. He was stuck with the great run blocker label for a number of years. But then he was traded to the Browns, was just brought up and joined the ‘Kardiac Kids’ and became known as more than just a run blocker as Brian Sipe and Cleveland led the NFL in passing. That didn’t surprise Hall of Famer Jim Ringo, his offensive line coach in Buffalo. ‘He’s the best pass blocker I ever coached,’ says Jim.”
It is this versatility of being both an exceptional run blocker and an exceptional pass blocker that made DeLamielleure such an outstanding NFL offensive lineman.
Gold Jacket Joe DeLamielleure shares why he comes back to Canton each year to celebrate the new Enshrinement Class and his involvement with the Hall’s yearly youth camps #PFHOF18 pic.twitter.com/0mNsZFca6M
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) August 1, 2018
However, it would be wrong to just focus on the professional football accomplishments of DeLamielleure.
Pro Football Hall of Fame Program Director Brock Richards said about DeLamielleure:
“We’re pleased to honor (DeLamielleure) and his stellar career. He didn’t get to the Hall of Fame on how he played football. He got there on how he played life.”
Whether blocking for O.J. Simpson or Brian Sipe, or helping children in charitable causes or retired NFL players, Joe DeLamielleure has both “played football” and “played life” as a Hall of Famer.