Tony Brackens was a handful. The former Texas defensive end transformed the position as a rangy, athletic, versatile, chaos-inducing playmaker for John Mackovic’s Longhorns.
After graduating from Fairfield, where the AP named him to the 3A All-State teams in 1991 and 1992, the 6-4, 220 pounder headed to the 40 acres. By the end of fall camp in Austin, it was clear, Brackens would play early and often for the Longhorns. He earned All-SWC 2nd team recognition as a true freshman and Defensive Newcomer of the Year.
By 1995, Brackens earned All-American honors and ranked eighth in Texas history with 24 career sacks in 28 career starts. Brackens declared for the 1996 NFL Draft as a junior. The Jacksonville Jaguars nabbed him in the second round. Brackens put together a solid pro career, twice putting up double-digit sack seasons. He played for the Jags his entire career, from 1996 to 2003, earning Pro-Bowl recognition for his 1999 season. Brackens received the 2003 Ed Block Courage Award for the Jaguars.
One could argue that Brackens ended his career as the greatest defensive end in Jacksonville franchise history. At the time of his release, he held twelve team records. He still holds Jag records in sacks, fumble recoveries, and forced fumbles. The team released him in 2004’s training camp after a string of leg injuries limited him.
Happy Birthday to a Longhorn legend, have yourself a day Tony.