Antonio Pierce

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Antonio Pierce (Antonio Durran Pierce)

Antonio Durran Pierce, born on October 26, 1978, is a former American football linebacker turned coach. Currently serving as the interim head coach and linebackers coach for the Las Vegas Raiders in the National Football League (NFL), Pierce brings a wealth of experience to the coaching realm. Prior to his coaching role, he served as an assistant coach at Arizona State.

Pierce’s NFL playing career spanned nine seasons, during which he achieved a notable milestone by winning a Super Bowl with the New York Giants in the 2007 season. His journey to the NFL started at the college level, where he played football for the Arizona Wildcats. Initially signed as an undrafted free agent by the Washington Redskins, he later became a key player for the Giants.

Beyond his contributions on the field, Antonio Pierce is a family man, married to Jocelyn, and the proud father of seven children. He currently resides in Palos Verdes Estates, California. Interestingly, his father, Cleo Burrows, hails from Bermuda.

Motivated by his upbringing in Compton, Antonio Pierce has dedicated himself to enhancing the quality of life for the youth in the Long Beach/Compton area. One notable initiative is his annual free football camp, providing underprivileged youths with valuable opportunities.

In addition to his coaching and community efforts, Pierce has taken on roles as a spokesperson for Giants Academy, a program aiding inner-city youth, and has actively participated in the “Read Across America” program. In this program, he engages with children whose parents are undergoing treatment for chemical dependency at the Odyssey House in Harlem. Antonio Pierce’s multifaceted involvement reflects his commitment to making a positive impact on both the football field and in the lives of those facing challenges in their communities.

Long Beach, California, U.S.

Long Beach, California, U.S.

Name

Date of Birth

Birth of Place

Profession

Nationality

Career

Height

Weight

High school

Undrafted

College

Antonio Durran Pierce

October 26, 1978

Long Beach, California, U.S.

Football Coach & Player

U.S [3]

2001 – Present

6 ft 1 in

 238 lb (108 kg)

Paramount, California

2001

Mt. San Antonio (1997–1998)
Arizona (1999–2000)

Playing Career

Antonio Pierce, an undrafted rookie free agent, joined the Washington Redskins in 2001. In his debut season, he participated in all 16 games, making eight starts and tallying 52 tackles, one sack, and one interception – the latter against Jake Plummer. The following two seasons saw Pierce in a more limited role, registering only 18 and 15 tackles in 2002 and 2003, respectively. However, his breakout came in the 2004 season, his fourth in the league, when he played a full season, stepping in for the injured Micheal Barrow. During this remarkable season, Pierce achieved a career-high of 114 tackles, with 95 of them being solo efforts. Additionally, he contributed with one forced fumble, one sack, and two interceptions, including a memorable 76-yard touchdown return after intercepting Ken Dorsey.

New York Giants

Antonio Pierce, a pivotal figure for the New York Giants, was signed on March 3, 2005, to take on the role of starting middle linebacker. Assuming the captaincy of the defense, Pierce showcased his prowess in the 2005 season, tallying an impressive 100 tackles, with 80 of them being solo efforts. His contributions extended beyond tackles, including two interceptions and a forced fumble returned for a touchdown. Unfortunately, his impactful season was cut short by a leg injury sustained against the Philadelphia Eagles, causing him to miss the final three regular season games and the Giants’ lone postseason match—a 23–0 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

The following year, in 2006, Pierce continued to shine, recording a career-high 138 tackles (109 solo), along with a sack, an interception, and eight defended passes. His stellar performance earned him recognition as a first alternate for the Pro Bowl. Pierce’s opportunity to play in the Pro Bowl materialized when Brian Urlacher withdrew due to a toe injury suffered in Super Bowl XLI.

During the 2007 season, Pierce played a central role in the Giants’ journey to their third Super Bowl title. His impactful tackle in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, particularly on a critical 3rd and 8 screen pass to running back Brandon Jackson, prevented a touchdown and forced the Packers to settle for a field goal. This pivotal play contributed to the Giants’ eventual victory in overtime.

Despite his significant contributions, Antonio Pierce was released by the Giants on February 11, 2010, marking the end of his tenure with the team.

Statistics

Tackles

Sacks

Interceptions

691

9.0

7

Head Coaching Record

Regular Season

4–3 (.571)

History

As a Player:

  • Washington Redskins (2001–2004)
  • New York Giants (2005–2009)

As a Coach:

  • Long Beach Poly HS (CA) (2014–2017)
    • Head coach
  • Arizona State (2018–2019)
    • Linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator
  • Arizona State (2020)
    • Associate head coach/co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator
  • Arizona State (2021)
    • Associate head coach/defensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator
  • Las Vegas Raiders (2022–2023)
    • Linebackers coach
  • Las Vegas Raiders (2023–present)
    • Interim head coach

Retirement

After his release, Antonio Pierce declared his retirement from football on July 8, 2010. Subsequently, he revealed his intention to embark on a new career as an NFL analyst for ESPN.

Statistics

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Regular Season

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck TFL Int Yds TD Lng PD FF FR Yds TD
2001 WAS 16 8 53 44 9 1.0 2 1 0 0 0 4 1 1 0 0
2002 WAS 8 1 18 13 5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
2003 WAS 15 0 15 14 1 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2004 WAS 16 16 114 87 27 1.0 3 2 94 1 78 5 1 2 2 0
2005 NYG 13 13 100 80 20 2.5 7 2 41 0 24 11 1 2 12 1
2006 NYG 16 16 139 109 30 1.0 10 1 6 0 6 9 1 2 0 0
2007 NYG 16 16 102 76 26 1.0 8 1 28 0 28 8 1 2 0 0
2008 NYG 15 15 95 72 23 1.5 5 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0
2009 NYG 9 9 55 40 15 1.0 4 0 0 0 0 3 1 1 3 0
124 94 691 535 156 9.0 39 7 169 1 78 43 8 10 17 1

Playoffs

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck TFL Int Yds TD Lng PD FF FR Yds TD
2006 NYG 1 1 7 5 2 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2007 NYG 4 4 25 22 3 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
2008 NYG 1 1 10 7 3 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 6 42 34 8 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

Coaching Career

On February 7, 2014, Pierce assumed the role of head coach at the esteemed Long Beach Polytechnic High School, a national powerhouse. This appointment followed the departure of Raul Lara, who had served as the head coach for 13 seasons. In his inaugural season, Pierce led the team to an impressive 11-2 record. However, challenges emerged in the subsequent season, marking the first time in 36 years that the Jackrabbits failed to secure a playoff spot under his leadership.

The difficulties persisted in the following years, with the team falling short of double-digit wins in both 2016 and 2017, experiencing decisive defeats in the playoffs. Consequently, on December 21, 2017, Pierce decided to step down as head coach, embarking on a new journey as the linebackers coach at Arizona State University. After two seasons in this role, he ascended to the position of co-defensive coordinator alongside Marvin Lewis.

On January 20, 2021, Pierce further advanced in his coaching career, being appointed as the sole defensive coordinator at ASU, a position he held until his resignation due to an NCAA recruiting violation investigation prior to the 2022 season. Subsequently, in August 2023, ASU self-imposed a bowl ban in an attempt to mitigate potential penalties stemming from the ongoing investigation.

In 2022, Pierce found a new opportunity as the linebackers coach for the Las Vegas Raiders under the leadership of head coach Josh McDaniels. The trajectory of his career took an unexpected turn on October 31, 2023, when he was appointed as the interim head coach of the Raiders following the dismissal of McDaniels. Pierce made his head coaching debut on November 5, 2023, against the New York Giants, a team for which he had previously played. In a triumphant start to his head coaching tenure, the Raiders emerged victorious with a convincing 30–6 win.

Head Coaching Record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
LV 2023 4 3 0 .571 TBD
Total 4 3 0 .571 0 0 .000

Personal Life

Pierce is married to Jocelyn and is the proud father of seven. Currently residing in Palos Verdes Estates, California, Pierce draws inspiration from his upbringing in Compton. His mission is to enhance the quality of life for the youth in the Long Beach/Compton area. For several years, he has organized a free football camp catering to underprivileged youths. In 2006, Pierce took on the role of spokesperson for Giants Academy—an initiative aimed at assisting inner-city youth in overcoming obstacles. Additionally, he actively participates in the “Read Across America” program, dedicating time to read to children whose parents are undergoing chemical dependency treatment at the Odyssey House in Harlem.

Recognizing his impactful contributions, Pierce was awarded the “United Way Man of the Year” in 2007 and received honors from the Catholic Diocese for his community support. At the 2008 ESPY awards, Pierce received recognition alongside the Giants. His football journey began at Paramount High School in Paramount, California, followed by two years at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, California, before transferring to the University of Arizona. In his senior year at Arizona, he demonstrated remarkable performance with three sacks, 77 tackles (ten for losses), two forced fumbles, one interception, and one blocked kick. Despite going undrafted in the 2001 NFL Draft due to size concerns, Pierce’s determination led him to intern as a communications professional on The Howard Stern Show on May 7, 2008. Expressing an interest in broadcasting post-NFL career, Pierce’s enthusiasm led him to extend his stay for the entire week, a request to which Stern graciously agreed.

Plaxico Burress Incident

Pierce found himself in the proximity of an incident on November 28, 2008, when his teammate Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the thigh at the Latin Quarter Night Club in New York City. Following the incident, Pierce assisted by driving Burress to the hospital and later returned home with the firearm stored in the glove compartment of his car. Law enforcement impounded Pierce’s SUV to conduct an investigation for traces of blood and gunpowder residue. Although Burress faced charges and eventually pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon, Pierce was not indicted on any charges. On August 3, 2009, Pierce was officially cleared of all criminal charges related to the incident. Throughout the legal proceedings, he was represented by the well-known NYC criminal defense attorney Michael F. Bachner.

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