Who is Terrell Buckley? Former Super Bowl champion is first-time head coach with XFL’s Guardians

The XFL has entered its 2023 season with renewed hope for staying power after the league attempted a comeback in 2020 that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new XFL features some new names, not only in the rosters, but also among the coaches leading the way for their respective teams. Among them: Terrell Buckley, freshman head coach making his debut in the role for the Orlando Guardians.

Buckley will be familiar to Florida State and various NFL fans considering he was a unanimous All-America selection at the former and 13-year NFL veteran with 50 career interceptions and a Super Bowl with the Patriots. The former first-round cornerback has been a position coach for several years, but never above this level.

With that, The Sporting News has everything you need to know about Buckley’s football career, be it as a player or as a coach:

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Who is Terrell Buckley?

Buckley of Pascagoula, Miss., is among the younger XFL coaches in 2023 at the age of 51, although he’s certainly not the least experienced. Although this is his first time as a head coach, since 2007 he has held various coaching roles at stations such as Florida State, Akron, Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. He has never trained at a professional level.

Of course, most will remember Buckley for his playing career, including at Florida State, where he was a unanimous All-America selection and Jim Thorpe Award winner before becoming one of the top 5 NFL draft picks became.

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Terrell Buckley plays career

State of Florida (1989-91)

A two-year starter and a three-year letterman at Florida State, Buckley exited the program as the all-time leader in interceptions (21), interception return yards (501), interceptions returns for touchdowns (four), and punt returns for touchdowns (three). His 501 interception return yards is also an NCAA record for a career.

Buckley led all of college football in 1991 with 12 interceptions for 238 return yards, including two for touchdowns. He was one of nine unanimous All-America selections that season and a winner of the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to college football’s top defenseman. He also placed seventh in Heisman Trophy voting.

In addition to excelling on the gridiron, Buckley also played varsity baseball for two years and was a sprinter on the outdoor track team for one season.

Green Bay Packers (1992–1994)

Buckley turned his career in Florida’s College Football Hall of Fame into a high pick in the 1992 NFL draft. He was selected fifth overall by the Packers, for whom he played three seasons, catching 10 interceptions for 102 return yards and scored a touchdown. He also recovered five fumbles in that span.

He also had 32 punt returns in 1992 and 1993 for 287 yards and one more score, the only punt return touchdown of his career.

Miami Dolphins (1995-1999)

The Packers traded Buckley to the Dolphins in 1995 in a series of deals that saw the cornerback go to Miami for “prior consideration” — essentially nothing. Buckley started the 1995 season in four games but returned with a vengeance the next season, with six interceptions and an NFL-leading 164 interception return yards.

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Buckley had a total of multiple interceptions apart from his freshman year in Miami, from 1996 to 1999 no fewer than three. He also had two interceptions for touchdowns in his stint with the Dolphins, adding five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries during that stint.

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Denver Broncos (2000)

Buckley signed with the Broncos in 2000 and accumulated six interceptions for 110 return yards and one point, adding 12 passes defended and 38 total tackles for Denver.

New England Patriots (2001-02)

It wasn’t until Buckley’s 10th NFL season that he picked up his first Super Bowl win, albeit as a backup in the defensive backfield of Bill Belichick’s Patriots team. In 2001, Buckley started one game in 15 contests for New England, recording three interceptions and a touchdown. He played all three games for the Patriots in their Super Bowl run and started none (though he did have an interception in the postseason).

Buckley returned to New England in 2002, starting and playing one more game than the previous season while recording four interceptions and 12 pass defenses.

Miami Dolphins (2003)

Buckley returned to Miami in 2003, playing all 16 regular-season games and starting five. He had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, in addition to seven passes defended, one forced fumble and four recoveries, and 51 total tackles.

New York Jets (2004)

Buckley was playing for his third AFC East in as many seasons when he joined the Jets in 2004. Despite not starting any games this season, he played all 16 while intercepting three balls and forcing a fumble.

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New York Giants (2005)

Buckley’s playing career ended in 2005 with the Giants, for whom he played just four games while scoring zero interceptions in New York – the first time of his NFL career.

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Terrell Buckley NFL Stats

Below is a rundown of Buckley’s stats throughout his career, from the Jets to the Chiefs:

Year team GP (GS) Interceptions (yards) TD’s FF (FR) tackles
1992 packer 12 (14) 3 (33) 1 0 (4) 32
1993 packer 16 (16) 2 (31) 0 0 (0) 48
1994 packer 16 (16) 5 (38) 0 3 (1) 59
1995 dolphins 16 (4) 1 (0) 0 0 (0) 26
1996 dolphins 16 (16) 6 (164) 1 2 (2) 53
1997 dolphins 16 (16) 4 (26) 0 1 (2) 85
1998 dolphins 16 (16) 8 (157) 1 2 (2) 51
1999 dolphins 11 (16) 3 (3) 0 0 (0) 44
2000 Broncos 16 (16) 6 (110) 1 0 (0) 38
2001 patriots 15 (1) 3 (76) 1 0 (0) 27
2002 patriots 16 (2) 4 (50) 0 0 (0) 22
2003 dolphins 16 (5) 2 (75) 1 1 (4) 51
2004 nozzles 16 (0) 3 (30) 0 0 (0) 10
2005 Giants 4 (0) 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0
Career 131 (209) 50 (793) 6 10 (15) 546

Terrell Buckley’s coaching career

After a year-long hiatus from football in 2006, Buckley returned to the sport as a coach in Florida State, where he served as a safety assistant in 2007, assistant wide receiver in 2008, assistant in 2009, and weight room coach in 2010 and 2011.

Buckley first took over as position coach in 2012 while coaching cornerbacks at Akron. He held that position for two years before coaching the same position at Louisville (2014-15), Mississippi State (2016-19) and Ole Miss (2020-21).

Buckley was announced as the Orlando Guardians head coach in April 2022. It will be the first experience as a head coach in his football career.

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