Leonard Little is a former American football defensive end for the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League (NFL). Little played college football for the University of Tennessee, and was recognized as an All-American. He was drafted by the Rams in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft, and played his entire twelve-year professional career with them.
Little attended Asheville High School in Asheville, North Carolina, where he played both linebacker and wide receiver. At AHS, he was a three-year starter. For his senior year, Little was named a Super Prep, Blue Chip, Prep Football Report as well as a First-team All-American. In November 2005, his high school retired his #30 jersey.
Little played three seasons at University of Tennessee, where he started every game at Defensive End during his senior season, leading the team in tackles (87) and sacks (8.5). He was first-team All-America and first-team All-Southeastern Conference in his senior season. He appeared in the first seven games of his junior season at defensive end, tallying 33 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and five tackles for losses, also blocking one field goal and forcing four fumbles. As a sophomore, he started every game at left defensive end and recorded 62 tackles and a career-high eleven sacks. He played one season for Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas. Little graduated from Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
The St. Louis Rams picked Leonard Little as the 4th pick in the 3rd round of the 1998 NFL Draft, the 65th overall pick. Little measured 6-3½, 237 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds. He was expected to be a first-round draft choice, but his “in-between” size left teams not sure if he would be a linebacker or a defensive end in the NFL. Little earned millions in his twelve NFL seasons and led his team in sacks six times (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2008) and had four seasons of twelve or more sacks. In 2003, Little was named an All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection; he had 12.5 sacks, third in the NFC (fourth in the NFL), six forced fumbles and an interception. Little’s ability to strip quarterbacks of the ball was noted by Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman who picked Little as the “best in the business to go for the strip”. Little retired on December 15, 2010.