When Darren Sharper played in the NFL, he was one of the best players during his career. The 6-foot-2 safety was a problem on defense. He was physical and athletic and wide receivers had problems matching up with him.
Sharper went on to be selected to multiple Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams, and he won a Super Bowl. But after his playing career was over, he got into some trouble that would have a significant impact on his life.
Darren Sharper’s NFL career
The Green Bay Packers drafted the Richmond, Virginia native in the second round of the 1997 NFL draft. During his rookie season, Sharper saw a good amount of playing time with the Packers. As the backup safety, he played in 14 games and had a total of 11 tackles, two interceptions, and three total touchdowns.
The Packers had success during Sharper’s first year. The team finished with a 13-3 record and earned a first-round bye going into the playoffs. Sharper played in his first career playoff game in January of 1998 and recorded three combined tackles as the Packers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21-7. Sharper played in his first-ever Super Bowl as a rookie, but the Packers were able to come out as champions as they lost to the Denver Broncos in a close game 31-24.
After his rookie season, Sharper would become an everyday starter. During the 1998 season, the Packers had another successful season and were playoff bound. Sharper would start in his first NFL career playoff game. He would have an impressive game in his first career playoff start. In the 1998 NFC Wild Card game against the San Francisco 49ers, he had four combined tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception as the Packers won 25-15.
In 2000, Sharper was named to his first Pro Bowl and made the First-Team All-Pro team for the first time as well. Sharper’s time in Green Bay allowed him to grow as a player and become one of the top free safety in the league. He spent eight seasons playing for the Packers and established himself as a top defensive player.
Sharper’s short stint with the New Orleans Saints
After Sharper’s time in Green Bay, he played for division rival Minnesota Vikings. He was in Minnesota for four seasons and continued to have success. When his career in Minnesota was over, he joined the New Orleans Saints at the end of his career.
He would accomplish something that he didn’t do when he played in Green Bay and Minnesota. He became a Super Bowl champion for the first time during the 2009 season with the Saints. The Saints went into the Super Bowl in 2010 as the top seed in the NFC, and they were matched up against the top seed in the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts.
Sharper finally could call himself a Super Bowl champion after gaining numerous individual accomplishments. Sharper spent his last two seasons with the Saints and decided to walk away from the NFL after 14 seasons.
Sharper’s troubles after retirement
Not too long after Sharper retired, he faced some trouble with the law. According to an ESPN article, in 2016, Sharper was sentenced to 20 years in prison in a case in which he was accused of drugging and raping as many as 16 women in four states.
Sharper had been serving time in jail since 2014 for similar incidents. The once highly talented free safety was facing serious time in prison for the things he did with multiple women. These mistakes that he made were something that he was not proud of, and it possibly has prevented him from making the Football Hall of Fame.