Dean Steinkuhler never considered himself a dominant athlete.
"I was always the fat kid. I still don't think I was the world's greatest athlete. A lot of it was that's just what I wanted to do," said Steinkuhler, who grew up playing three-on-three football in the front yards of Burr, which had a population of about 100. He went on to play eight-man football at nearby Sterling High.
You can outperform guys with more talent, said Steinkuhler, who credits his father for helping to nurture his work ethic.
Steinkuhler, nicknamed "The Burr Oak" after his hometown, rode that work ethic when he enrolled at Nebraska in 1979 as a freshman. In practices, he prided himself on finishing first in running drills.
"When I went to Nebraska, I wasn't the best guy there, by far," Steinkuhler said. "I think I just outworked them and stayed with it."
The effort paid off. Steinkuhler was a starter at guard for Husker teams that were never ranked lower than eighth in his junior or senior years. In his final season, he became one of only 13 players to win both the Lombardi and Outland — the most prestigious awards given to college lineman — and his No. 71 jersey became one of only 17 to ever be retired at Nebraska.
After New England took Nebraska teammate Irving Fryar first overall in the 1984 draft, the Oilers selected Steinkuhler with the No. 2 pick. Steinkuhler played his entire NFL career for Houston before retiring in 1991.
Both Sports Illustrated and the Walter Camp Foundation named Steinkuhler to their All-Century teams in 1999. He was inducted into both the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame and the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
Played for: Sterling High, Nebraska Cornhuskers and Houston Oilers
Best moment as an athlete: Before the "fumbleroosky" and the NFL, Steinkuhler was an all-state eight-man lineman when he received one of Nebraska's final scholarships for 1979. "Coach Osborne called me the night before the bowl game (Nebraska's 31-24 Orange Bowl loss to Oklahoma)," Steinkuhler said.
Steinkuhler was No. 46 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »