Jerry Ball

Born: Dec. 15, 1964 in Beaumont, Texas

At 14 years old Jerry Ball, was keeping the books for his grandfather's railroad car cleaning business in Beaumont, Texas. He attended Westbrook High School where he earned the nickname "Ice Box" playing fullback, defensive end, and linebacker. His senior year he led the Westbrook Bruins (the schools first year of existence) to a win in the 1982 Texas 5A championship. Ball went on to Southern Methodist University, where he was moved to nose tackle, and earned the distinction of All-American. 


In 1987, the Detroit Lions drafted Ball and immediately put him to work as a starting nose tackle, where he began racking up the stats. Tagged "The Governor" by coach Fontes, he was an all-rookie pick that year, and the following year he made 68 tackles, and 18.5 sacks (including the only safety of Colts running back Eric Dickerson's 10-year pro career). Ball was often double teamed, but became adept at dealing with the challenge-to him, “the opposing teams are all victims.” 


In 1991, Ball was injured by a then legal "chop block.” Ball remained on the injured list through the end of that season and into the 1992 season. The NFL later instituted the “Jerry Ball Rule” outlawing such blocks. In 1993, Ball was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a third-round draft pick.


According to the 6'1" 300 lb. player, "nose tackle can only be played by a man with a neurological disorder." He retired from professional football in 1999 and entered the business world. He had his own Detroit-based clothing company licensed by the NFL, called Ice Box Sportswear. Although NFL licensing is rare, one official claims that Ball deserves it not only for the quality of the clothing, but because "he's such a nice guy."


Jerry Ball was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

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Museum Address: 700 Procter, Port Arthur, TX 77640

The Museum of the Gulf Coast is administered by the Port Arthur Historical Society in partnership with the City of Port Arthur.  

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