Dennis Dixon

American football player (born 1985)

American football player
Dennis Dixon
refer to caption
Dixon at Autzen Stadium in 2009
No. 2, 10
Personal information
Born: (1985-01-11) January 11, 1985 (age 39)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:San Leandro (San Leandro, California)
NFL draft:2008 / Round: 5 / Pick: 156
Career history
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (2008–2011)
  • Baltimore Ravens (2012)*
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2013)*
  • Buffalo Bills (2013–2014)*
  • Arizona Cardinals (2014)*
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Pass cmp / att:35 / 59
Passing yards:402
Passer rating:71.4
Rushing yards:56
Rushing touchdowns:1
Player stats at PFR

Dennis Lee Dixon Jr. (born January 11, 1985) is an American former professional football player who was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Oregon Ducks. Dixon was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL draft and played with the team through 2011. He was a member of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad during the 2012 season in which they won a Super Bowl.

Early life

Dixon was the starting quarterback for San Leandro High School's football team beginning his sophomore year. In his senior season, Dixon threw for 2,426 yards and 30 touchdowns, leading his team to a 12-1 season in 2002.[1] Dixon completed his high school career with 5,951 yards and 79 touchdowns, guiding San Leandro to a 36-3 record, with his only losses coming in three straight California North Coast Section 4A championship games to perennial powerhouse De La Salle.[2]

Dixon was a consensus four-star recruit, and was ranked among the top passing and rushing quarterbacks in the nation. He eventually decided to attend the University of Oregon, stating that "I am going to Oregon with only one purpose, and that is to win a national championship".[1]

Dixon was also a highly recruited baseball player, and was initially drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 20th round of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft.[3] However, he did not sign because he wanted to go to college and get a degree.[4]

College career

Dixon opted to grayshirt (attend school part-time and retain eligibility) for the 2003 season and played his freshman season in 2004 behind Kellen Clemens.[5] He appeared in six games, passing for 73 and rushing for 40 yards. In his sophomore season of 2005, he was expected to play primarily in a backup role during Clemens's senior season. However, against Arizona, Clemens broke his ankle, and Dixon came into the game, though he later left with a concussion. With Clemens out for the season, Dixon split time with fellow sophomore quarterback Brady Leaf and guided the Ducks to four regular season wins and a second-place finish in the Pac-10, before dropping a 17-14 loss in the Holiday Bowl against Oklahoma.[6]

Prior to his junior season in 2006, Dixon was named full-time starter by head coach Mike Bellotti. He led the Ducks to a 4-0 start, including a 34-33 comeback victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. After a win over Arizona State, the Ducks lost 48-24 to Cal before Dixon's hometown crowd. After being benched in favor of Brady Leaf, Oregon went on to lose three of their four final games and finished with a 7-6 record. Despite his shortened season, Dixon still finished the season fourth in the conference in total offense (219.3 yards per game). Dixon was named the league's second-team academic all-conference quarterback. In June 2007, he graduated from Oregon with a degree in sociology and a 3.27 grade point average.[7]

In 2007, Bellotti again named Dixon, now a senior, the starter prior to the season. The season started off quickly for Dixon against Houston, in which Dixon accumulated 141 yards rushing, the most ever by an Oregon quarterback.[8] The following week against Michigan, Dixon threw for 3 touchdowns and ran for another, generating 368 yards of total offense. Dixon was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week and USA Today National Player of the Week.[9]

In the next two games, he led the Ducks to big wins over Fresno State (where he threw for two touchdowns and ran for another),[10] and Stanford (where he completed 27 of 36 passes for 367 yards and 4 touchdowns and ran for another).[11]

Against Cal, Dixon threw his first two interceptions of the season, but led the Ducks down the field in the final minute for a potential tying score before Cameron Colvin fumbled the ball through the end zone in the final seconds for Oregon's first loss of the season.[12]

Wins in the following weeks over Pac-10 powers USC and Arizona State pushed Oregon to a #2 ranking in the BCS poll[13] and first place in the Pac-10. During the Arizona State game, he left the game with a knee injury, but was cleared to play two weeks later against Arizona. In the first quarter of that game, he ran 39 yards for a touchdown, but a few plays later, his left knee buckled and he left the game because of the injury, and the Ducks went on to lose 34-24. It was then revealed that Dixon had torn the ACL in his left knee against Arizona State and aggravated it against Arizona. In the last game of the season against archrival Oregon State, they lost and the Beavers broke the streak of the last 10 years in which the home team had always won.[14] Without Dixon, and following an injury to backup Brady Leaf as well as a long list of injuries to the entire Duck team, the Ducks lost the last two games of the season, but went on to defeat South Florida 56-21 in the 2007 Sun Bowl as Dixon watched from the sideline and continued to cheer on his team.

After undergoing surgery to repair his torn ACL, Dixon walked with no apparent limp at the NFL Combine headquarters in Indianapolis in February. Dixon was unable to perform any Combine drills, but worked out at Oregon's Pro Day and held impressive individual workouts later.

Baseball career

Following his junior year at Oregon, Dixon was picked by the Atlanta Braves in the fifth round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft. Dixon hit .176 in 74 at bats with two Atlanta Braves rookie league teams, and returned to Oregon for his senior year during the 2007 season.[15]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span
6 ft 3+14 in
(1.91 m)
195 lb
(88 kg)
36+14 in
(0.92 m)
9+34 in
(0.25 m)
All values from NFL Combine[16][17]

Pittsburgh Steelers

In the 2008 NFL draft, Dixon was taken in the fifth round with the 156th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers.[18] It was speculated that he could be used in the manner that the Steelers used Antwaan Randle El, who was a college quarterback that turned into an NFL wide receiver.

Dixon passed for a combined 12-for-24 in passing attempts in two 2008 preseason games, in addition, he ran for a 47-yard touchdown against the Buffalo Bills. On December 28, 2008, Dixon completed his first official NFL pass to Hines Ward, of which the reception was Ward's 800th of his career.[19]

Dixon made his first career start on November 29, 2009, against the Baltimore Ravens after injuries suffered by Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch a week earlier moved him up the depth chart. In the game, the Steelers went on to lose 20-17 in overtime. Dixon finished 12-of-26 for 145 yards with one touchdown and one interception. In addition, he ran for 27 yards on three carries, including one run for a touchdown. However, his one interception was in the overtime period, allowing the Baltimore Ravens to kick a field goal for the winning score.[20][21]

Dixon wore the #2 during his first two seasons with the Steelers, but after the trade of Santonio Holmes, Dixon took #10, his college number.

With Roethlisberger being suspended for four games to start the 2010 season, Byron Leftwich was named the Steelers' starter. Even though Dixon threw two interceptions in his only preseason start, a serious knee injury to Leftwich during the preseason finale led to Dixon being named the opening day starter. After winning against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1, Dixon tore his meniscus while playing against the Tennessee Titans the following week in what would be the final game of his career. He was put on Injured Reserve on October 13.[22]

Baltimore Ravens

Dixon on sideline during Super Bowl XLVII.

On September 2, 2012, the Baltimore Ravens signed Dixon to their practice squad. He was cut from the squad November 7, 2012, and was re-signed to the practice squad again on November 13, 2012.[23] He was the practice squad quarterback when the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII and earned a ring.[24][25]

Philadelphia Eagles

Dixon signed a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on February 14, 2013.[26] The move reunited him with new head coach Chip Kelly, who was the offensive coordinator at Oregon during Dixon's senior year in 2007.[27] Dixon was released during final cuts on August 30.[28]

Buffalo Bills

On October 8, 2013, Dixon was signed to the Buffalo Bills practice squad, following an injury to starting quarterback EJ Manuel.[29] The Bills released him on August 25, 2014.[30]

Arizona Cardinals

On October 7, 2014, Dixon was signed to the Arizona Cardinals practice squad.[31] He was released by the team on October 13, 2014.[32]


Year Team GP GS Passing Rushing
Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
2008 PIT 1 0 1 1 100.0 3 3.0 0 0 79.2 2 -3 -1.5 0
2009 PIT 1 1 12 26 46.2 145 5.6 1 1 60.6 3 27 9.0 1
2010 PIT 2 2 22 32 68.8 254 7.9 0 1 79.4 5 32 6.4 0
Career 4 3 35 59 59.3 402 6.8 1 2 71.4 10 56 5.6 1



  1. ^ a b "Dennis Dixon". Retrieved November 4, 2007.
  2. ^ Jones, Clayton (September 17, 2004). "New age quarterback". Oregon Daily Emerald. Archived from the original on May 19, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  3. ^ "2003 First-Year Player Draft Tracker". Major League Baseball. Retrieved November 4, 2007.
  4. ^ Mediate, Daniel (July 7, 2012). "Oregon Ducks football: Q&A with former UO quarterback Dennis Dixon". Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  5. ^ Stevens, Mitch (February 6, 2003). "San Leandro's Dixon opts for Oregon, will wait to play". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on March 1, 2003. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  6. ^ "#10 Dennis Dixon". Go Ducks. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  7. ^ Jenkins, Lee (April 11, 2008). "Dennis, Anyone?". Sports Illustrated. CNN. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
  8. ^ Peterson, Anne M. (September 1, 2007). "Oregon Opens the 2007 Season with a Victory over Houston". Go Ducks. Retrieved November 4, 2007.
  9. ^ "Oregon Downs Michigan 39-7". Go Ducks. September 8, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2007.
  10. ^ "Bellotti Earns Win Number 100 With Victory Over Fresno State". Go Ducks. September 15, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2007.
  11. ^ "No. 13 Ducks Down Stanford, 55-31". Go Ducks. September 22, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2007.
  12. ^ "Turnovers Cost 11th-ranked Ducks vs. No. 6 Cal". Go Ducks. September 29, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2007.
  13. ^ "Bowl Championship Series Standings: November 11, 2007" (PDF). November 11, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 14, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2007.
  14. ^ "Oregon's Dixon tore ACL two weeks ago". Mercury News. November 17, 2007. Retrieved December 10, 2007.
  15. ^ "Dennis Dixon". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  16. ^ "Dennis Dixon Draft and Combine Prospect Profile". Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  17. ^ "Dennis Dixon, Oregon, QB, 2008 NFL Draft Scout, NCAA College Football". Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  18. ^ "2008 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  19. ^ Bouchette, Ed (December 29, 2008). "Steelers Notebook: Pass-happy Hines Ward makes his 800th catch". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
  20. ^ Clayton, John (November 28, 2009). "Source: Roethlisberger out vs. Ravens". Associated Press. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
  21. ^ "Dixon will start at QB vs. Ravens". November 28, 2009. Archived from the original on December 28, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  22. ^ "Steelers put Dixon on IR, will miss season". The Tribune-Democrat. Associated Press. October 3, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  23. ^ Wilson, Aaron (November 13, 2012). "Ravens re-sign former Steelers backup Dennis Dixon to practice squad". Ravens Insider. Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on November 1, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  24. ^ "Super Bowl XLVII - San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens - February 3rd, 2013". Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  25. ^ Phillips, Justin (February 4, 2013). "Baltimore Ravens Win Super Bowl 47 34-31, Former Oregon Ducks Ngata, Dickson and Dixon Get Rings". Autzen Zoo. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  26. ^ Shorr-Parks, Eliot (February 14, 2013). "Dennis Dixon agrees to two-year deal with Eagles". Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  27. ^ Wulf, Bo (February 14, 2013). "Eagles Add QB Dennis Dixon". Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  28. ^ Pennington, James (August 30, 2013). "Eagles cut QB Dennis Dixon, 11 others". Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  29. ^ Alper, Josh (October 8, 2013). "Bills sign two to active roster, Dennis Dixon to practice squad". NBC Sports. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  30. ^ Brown, Chris (August 25, 2014). "Bills reduce roster to required 75". Archived from the original on August 30, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  31. ^ Gantt, Darin (October 7, 2014). "Cardinals make moves, bring in QB Dennis Dixon". NBC Sports. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  32. ^ Allen, Scott (October 13, 2014). "Arizona Cardinals Release QB Dennis Dixon". FanSided. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  33. ^ a b Pac-10 Football Awards and All-Conference Team Announced Archived February 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Pacific-10 Conference, December 3, 2007.
  34. ^ "2007 Heisman Trophy Voting". College Football at Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  35. ^ "Expanded Heisman Trophy voting results". MSNBC. Archived from the original on December 12, 2004. Retrieved December 10, 2007.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dennis Dixon.
  • Official website
  • Oregon Ducks bio
  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball Reference (Minors)
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