NFL

What Happened to Former No. 1 Draft Pick and Hall of Famer Orlando Pace?

During the 1997 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams (now LA Rams) had the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. The Rams decided to select an offensive tackle out of Ohio State. That player was Orlando Pace. Pace went on to have a successful NFL career as he spent most of his NFL career with the Rams.

After an impressive NFL career, Pace was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Orlando Pace was a standout at Ohio State

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Pace is a native of Sandusky, Ohio, and attended Ohio State. He immediately made an impact when he joined the team. During his freshman year, he was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Pace was the star on the offensive line, and he played a big part in the team’s offense. During his time at Ohio State, he received many accolades and awards.

As a sophomore, Pace was a unanimous All-American and won the Lombardi Award. He was also named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year as a sophomore. The 1996 season was a big year for Pace. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year for the second consecutive year, and he was named the Big Ten Most Valuable Player.

Pace finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1996 and for a lineman to finish that high in the voting shows how talented and skilled he was. After an impressive college career, Pace set himself up to become a top pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Pace had a successful career for the Rams

When the Rams drafted Pace, he became the first offensive lineman to be drafted first overall since 1968. Pace became a full-time starter for the Rams after his rookie season. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl during his third year. He also was a first-team All-Pro selection in his third year. 

During the 1999 season, the Rams advanced to the Super Bowl, where they defeated the Tennessee Titans. Pace capped off the 1999 season with a Super Bowl, and it was one of his top-performing seasons. He spent 12 seasons with the Rams and was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a four-time All-Pro selection. Pace spent his final NFL season playing for the Chicago Bears in 2009. In February of 2016, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Orlando Pace’s life after football

Pace continued to stay busy after he retired from the NFL. Before he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013. An article from usatodayhss.com stated that Pace was a part-owner of St. Louis radio station KFNS-AM and TITLE Boxing Club in the city. Pace also owned multiple rental properties in Ohio.

The Super Bowl champ also donated money to his high school alma mater. Up until he retired in 2011, he donated $10,000 a year in scholarship money to Sandusky High School, according to the usatodayhss.com article. He also owned a restaurant called ‘Big O’s Ltd’ in Sandusky. Pace is active on Twitter, and according to his bio, he’s an entrepreneur. He had a remarkable career in college and in the NFL, and his hard work paid off.