Cincinnati defensive back Deltha O’Neal celebrates after returning an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns. The Bengals won, 58-48, in the second highest scoring game in league history.
Photo by AP Photo
A two-time Pro Bowl selection during his nine-year NFL career, cornerback Deltha O’Neal came to the NFL after an outstanding college career at the University of California, where he was an All-American defensive back and kick-returner. During the 1999 season, O’Neal recorded an NCAA record four interceptions returned for touchdowns in one season. In November of 2011, O’Neal was inducted to the Cal Hall of Fame.
O’Neal was drafted by the Denver Broncos with the 15th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. On October 7th, 2001, he recorded 4 interceptions in a game between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, which is still tied for the most-ever in a single game. He made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro in 2001, and eventually made his way to Cincinnati in ’04.
In the ’05 season, O’Neal recorded 10 interceptions, breaking the franchise record of nine set by Ken Riley in 1976. He also tied Ty Law as the NFL’s interception leader that year(10) while being named to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro Team.
O’Neal finished his nine-year career with 34 interceptions, 65 pass defenses, two Pro Bowl appearances, and was twice selected to the NFL All-Pro team.
SH: What have you been doing since you’ve retired from football?
Deltha: Well, I’ve partnered up with an ex-teammate (Tory James) we started a trucking company that’s leased on with Landstar corp. I have also been heavy into my kids sporting events like basketball, baseball, gymnastics and soccer. Not too much excitement for me other than that.
SH: What inspired you to play football?
Deltha: My brother Stephan I watched him when I was a little kid play high school football. He too rocked the #24 jerse, and that’s why I chose that number as a rookie.