Leonard Allen Marshall Jr. (born October 22, 1961) is a former American football defensive lineman who played twelve seasons in the National Football League (NFL). Marshall played defensive end for the New York Giants for ten seasons, then played a season each as a defensive tackle for the New York Jets and Washington Redskins.
Marshall was born in Franklin, Louisiana. He was the oldest of seven children, whose father, Leonard Marshall Sr., was a foreman at a shipyard. Initially, Marshall’s father did not like the idea of his son playing football, as he thought it was “a stupid game” that would prevent his son from doing more productive things. Later in his life however, Marshall Sr. expressed happiness over his son’s success, and even rooted against his beloved Dallas Cowboys when his son’s Giants teams played them.
Marshall majored in Business Management at LSU. He chose the school over the University of Alabama and its Hall of Fame coach Bear Bryant, because of the school’s academic reputation and because it allowed him to stay close to home. Marshall played a crucial role in LSU’s 1982 victory over Alabama, making several key tackles and prompting Bryant to state his regret in a post-game press conference for his inability to recruit Marshall. The team finished 8–3–1 and narrowly lost, 21–20, to the University of Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. He was named the team’s defensive Most Valuable Player for his performance in the 1982 season.
Marshall was selected with the 37th overall selection (the fourth defensive lineman taken) in the 1983 NFL Draft. At the time Los Angeles Raiders managing general partner Al Davis described him as the steal of the draft.
In 1985 Marshall emerged as a pass rusher and went on to record 15.5 sacks which led to him being named NFL defensive lineman of the year. He went on to win the title again the following year.
Marshall is probably best known for his hit that knocked Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana out of that game. In the fourth quarter he hit Montana so hard that he suffered a bruised sternum, bruised stomach, cracked ribs, and a broken hand. In 2007, the hit was ranked as the third most “devastating hit” in NFL history by Fox Sports Net, and the third most “devastating hit” in sports history by The Best Damn Sports Show Period.
Marshall was part of two Superbowl winning teams while with the Giants beting the Broncos in Superbowl XXI and beating the Bills in Superbowl XXV
Marshall was selected to three Pro Bowls, and finished his career with 83.5 sacks in the regular season, and twelve in the postseason. His total of 79.5 as a Giant ranks him fifth in team history. He was also an All Pro selection two times in his career.
Since his NFL career ended Marshall has hosted the annual Leonard Marshall Football Academy Camp which trains football players aged 8–18. The camp uses an extensive list of current and former NFL Pro Bowlers, to help teach the fundamentals of football in a non-contact setting. It is organized each June in south Florida. The camp also offers scholarships annually to 50 underprivileged youths who qualified through the Marvin Jones Foundation.
Marshall hosted a radio show on WFAN entitled the Leonard Marshall Show which was recorded in Hollywood, Florida near Marshall’s former residence in Boca Raton, Florida. He also appeared on radio during his five-year stint on The Howard Stern Show where he co-hosted NY Football (CBS). Marshall is a noted philanthropist who has received several awards in recognition of his charitable work.