Dwayne Carswell, Liberty’s only Super Bowl champion, sets the perfect example of doing whatever it takes.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1972, Carswell attended Temple High School as well as University Christian School. During his high school football career at both institutions, Carswell earned All-State honors multiple times and was named to the top 100 athletes list in Jacksonville. Perhaps what was most impressive about Carswell was his versatility. During his high school career, Carswell played three separate positions: running back, wide receiver, and safety. This caught the eye of now Liberty University Hall of Fame coach, Sam Rutigliano, who recruited Carswell to the Mountain.
Similar to his high school career, Carswell was tasked with playing multiple positions as a Flame. During his first two seasons, Carswell was a running back and he was able to amass 435 rushing yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore. In his final two collegiate seasons, Carswell played tight end where he finished his career as a Flame with 65 receptions for 511 yards and two touchdowns. Due to playing at a smaller school and not having much experience at any one position, Carswell went undrafted.
Despite not being selected in the 1994 NFL Draft, Carswell was signed to the Denver Broncos practice squad in August and eventually the active roster in November. As a rookie, Carswell made a minimal impact, only recording three receptions for 37 yards and two special-teams tackles. In 1996, Carswell would begin to carve out a role on the Broncos. The former Flame played in all 16 games (mostly on special teams) and even made a start at tight end in replacement of Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.
In 1997, Carswell made three starts at tight end and assumed all primary backup duties when Sharpe was healthy. The Jacksonville native caught his first-ever career touchdown pass against the St. Louis Rams on September 14th from John Elway. Carswell also caught one pass for 4 yards in the Broncos’ Super Bowl XXXII win over the Green Bay Packers, making him the first former Flame to ever play in (and win) a Super Bowl. Carswell and the Broncos would repeat, winning the Super Bowl again the very next season, as Carswell is also the only Flame to win and play in multiple Super Bowls.
Once Shannon Sharpe left the team, Carswell took over as starting tight end and flourished. In his first season as a starter in 2000, Carswell started all 16 games and caught 49 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns, which was good for third best on the team. In 2001, Carswell recorded 39 receptions for 299 yards and a career-high 4 touchdowns. This performance was good enough for a Pro Bowl selection, as the former Flame was selected to his lone Pro Bowl appearance that season.
While Carswell was a threat in the passing game, his main strength was blocking. In Carswell’s 12-year career with the Broncos, there were ten separate 1,000-yard rushers for Denver. This knack for blocking earned Carswell his legendary nickname, “The House.” Carswell’s blocking was so superb, that he switched positions to offensive line in 2005. This marked the seventh different position that Carswell played in his football career dating back to high school, as he played at least two separate positions at every level, from high school all the way to the NFL. Despite the position switch, Carswell still proved to be a threat in the passing game. On October 2nd, 2005, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carswell became the first offensive lineman in the Super Bowl era to record multiple touchdown receptions in the same game.
Carswell concluded his NFL career with the Broncos in 2006 and after a short stint with the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League a year later, Carswell retired from the sport for good. In his professional career, Carswell played in 163 career games, hauled in 192 receptions, and 15 touchdowns for 1,707 yards, including becoming a pro bowler and a two-time Super Bowl champion.
In 2016, the Denver Broncos released a series of top-five position lists and named Carswell as the fourth best tight end to ever play for the franchise. Not too bad for a guy who started his collegiate career as a running back and eventually switched to tight end where he was best known for his blocking skills.
Despite playing multiple positions at every level of football, Dwayne Carswell never failed to make an impact on the field. That versatility and determination is the main reason he not only had a successful career in the NFL but is why he holds claim to the title of Liberty Football’s only Super Bowl champion.
(Photo Credit to: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)