Harry Carson
Pro football linebacker
Born: November 26, 1953, in Florence, South Carolina
Lives in: Franklin Lakes, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2018: Sports

Harry Carson spent his entire pro football career with the New York Giants, making nine Pro Bowl appearances and helping the Giants win their first Super Bowl in 1986.

A legend among New Jersey football fans, Carson first came to the Garden State at age 6, when his mother, Gladys, moved her family from South Carolina in search of a better life for her brood. Carson returned to his native state to play football for South Carolina State University, where he won consecutive conference awards as defensive player-of-the year and led his team to two conference championships. He was an All-America team selection as a senior in 1975 when he set school records with 117 tackles and 17 sacks during the 10-game season.

The Giants selected Carson in the fourth round of the 1976 NFL draft. Playing middle linebacker, he went on to lead the team in tackles for five seasons and served as captain for 10. For several unforgettable seasons, Carson and fellow linebackers Lawrence Taylor, Brad Van Pelt and Brian Kelley comprised what became known as the Crunch Bunch, widely considered one of the best linebacker quartets in NFL history.

In his 13 seasons with the Giants, Carson intercepted 11 passes, returning them for a total of 212 yards, and recovered 14 fumbles. He unofficially recorded 19 sacks. Carson was among the stars when the Giants won Super Bowl XXI in 1986, recording seven tackles against the Denver Broncos. By that time, the Giants’ stellar defense was known as the Big Blue Wrecking Crew—and Carson was one of its key components.

At Carson’s New Jersey Hall of Fame induction, novelist Harlan Coben said of his friend: “He was the heart of those teams, the brains, and mostly Harry was the cool.”

After his retirement in 1988, Carson enjoyed a successful career as a broadcaster and sports consultant.  He was also part-owner of the Arena Football League‘s New Jersey Red Dogs, alongside ex-Giants Carl Banks and Joe Morris.

Diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome in 1990, Carson has been an outspoken advocate for concussion awareness. He was among the first professional athletes to describe his personal experience with the aftermath of concussions and what is known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In 2018, Carson joined with other former NFL stars to support a parental initiative called Flag Football Under 14, which recommends no tackle football below that age out of a concern for the brain health of the young players.

Carson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Intro/Acceptance Video