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Dwayne Rudd (born February 3, 1976 in Batesville, Mississippimarker) is an American football linebacker who is a free agent in the National Football League, having not played in the NFL since 2003. During his career he played for the Minnesota Vikings, the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rudd was a teammate of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend in both high school and college, at South Panola High School and the University of Alabamamarker, respectively. Derek Pegues, a South Panola alum and an All-SEC Defensive Back for Mississippi Statemarker, is his cousin.

Premature Celebration

Rudd's most infamous moment came in the 2002 season opener between the Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs. With less than 10 seconds left on the clock and the Browns clinging to a 39–37 lead, Chiefs quarterback Trent Green dropped back to pass, but the entire Browns defensive line swarmed him and it initially appeared that Rudd sacked Green. However, Green lateraled the ball to tackle John Tait just before he went down. Rudd did not see the play, and after getting up he threw his helmet in the air in celebration, thinking Green had been sacked and the game was over.

Tait ran to the Browns' 25-yard line where he was knocked out of bounds. That would have been the end of the game, but Rudd's premature helmet toss drew the Browns an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which moved the ball to the 13-yard line (half the distance to the goal), and since football games by rule can not end on a defensive penalty, Chiefs kicker Morten Andersen booted a 30-yard field goal with no time left to win the game 40–39.

Accomplishments

Rudd shares the NFL record (with many players) both for the most total fumble recoveries for touchdowns in a season and the most opponent fumble recoveries for touchdowns in a season, with two apiece.

Legal Issues

Rudd owes $696,525 in unpaid child support.

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