Considered the “prototype linebacker of the NFL,” the “Mad Stork” dazzled with strength and skill. “Ted was a great natural athlete, an intense competitor. Once a game started, he went like gangbusters. Great players make great plays, and I can’t think of any defensive player who made more big plays for us than Ted Hendricks.” -John Madden
Ted Hendricks was born November 1, 1947, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, the grandson of Italians. His football career began with a notable start at the University of Miami, where he was named to All-American teams as a sophomore in 1966. The following two years, Hendricks was a consensus All-American choice. His senior year, he was named college lineman of the year by United Press International.
In 1969, Hendricks hit the NFL, drafted in the second round by the Baltimore Colts, who moved him to outside linebacker. His unique style of play and 6’7″, 220-pound frame earned him the nickname “The Mad Stork,” and a reputation as an outstanding pass rusher and kick blocker. He was an All-Pro player from 1971-1974 and played a crucial role in the Colts’ 1971 Super Bowl victory.
When the World Football League formed in 1974, Hendricks was among the players selected to begin playing after their NFL contracts expired. In response, the Colts traded Hendricks to the Green Bay Packers for the 1974 season.
Hendricks signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent in 1975 and was an All-Pro again in 1980 and 1982. In total, Hendricks was selected for the Pro Bowl nine times.
He retired from football in 1983 and was elected to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.