As a Bruin for the West Brook High School football team, Jerry Ball made his school proud. He made Beaumont even prouder when he went professional, playing for the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings.
Born in Beaumont on December 15, 1964, he was nicknamed "Ice Box" playing fullback, defensive end and linebacker in high school. As a senior, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards. He led the team to the 1982 Texas 5A championship in Austin. He went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he was moved to nose tackle. He subsequently was named all-Southwest Conference three times, and All-American. During his senior year, he was defensive MVP of the Aloha Bowl. As a senior, he was a finalist for the Outland Trophy, given to the outstanding collegiate interior lineman.
The Detroit Lions drafted Ball in 1987 and immediately put him to work in the position that had won him All-American honors - nose tackle. Dubbed "The Governor" by Coach Wayne Fontes, Ball was an all-rookie pick that first year. The following year, he made 68 tackles and 18 and a half sacks, including the one and only safety in the 10-year career of legendary running back, Eric Dickerson.
Ball went on to become a 3-time Pro Bowler in 1989, 1990 and 1991. In 1991, Ball was injured by a "chop block," which was, at that time, legal. As a result, the NFL instituted the "Jerry Ball Rule," which outlawed blocks of this type. Ball remained on the injured list through the end of that season and into the 1992 season. The following year, he was traded to Cleveland for a third round draft pick, and then to the Oakland Raiders. From 1997 to 1999, Ball played for Minnesota. Ball now has his own Detroit-based clothing company licensed by the NFL, called Ice Box Sportswear.
This information is courtesy of the Beaumont Enterprise.