Without a doubt, Tarik Glenn belongs in the Indianapolis Colts’ Mt. Rushmore of offensive linemen that includes Ray Donaldson, Chris Hinton, and Jeff Saturday.
With Glenn protecting Colts quarterback Peyton Manning’s blind side from 1998 to 2006, Manning racked up seven 4,000-yard seasons and two NFL MVP awards in 2003 and 2004.
Glenn and the Colts’ offensive line also helped running back Edgerrin James lead the NFL in rushing yardage in 1999 and 2000.
With Glenn at the top of his game, Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison also led the league in receiving yardage in 1999 and 2002.
Glenn also helped the Colts win an average of 13 games per year from 1998 to 2006.
Glenn ultimately helped the Colts win Super Bowl XLI at the end of the 2006 NFL campaign.
There’s little wonder why Tarik Glenn became a member of the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor in the fall of 2022.
Tarik Glenn truly exemplified winning in the trenches during his stellar 10-year pro football career from 1997 to 2006.
Tarik Glenn Sr. was born to parents Ralph and Connie in Cleveland, OH on May 25, 1976.
Tarik’s dad worked in the retail sector while his mom worked as a nurse to help make ends meet.
Tarik inherited his commitment and dedication from his parents. He once said (via IndyStar’s Phillip B. Wilson) that his mother worked various shifts—including double shifts and weekends—to make sure he and his brother had everything they needed.
Tarik also never saw his dad skip work because of an illness.
— Bishop O’Dowd Football (@ODowd_FB) May 7, 2022
His parents’ example profoundly affected him—Tarik became one of the most durable offensive linemen from the late 1990s until the mid-2000s. He missed just six games in his 10-year pro football career.
Tarik was so dedicated, he also hardly missed practice with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
Glenn attended Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, CA. He played on both the defensive and offensive lines for the O’Dowd Dragons.
Tarik Glenn remained in-state and became one of the best offensive linemen in the nation during his four-year stint with the California Golden Bears.
College Days With the California Golden Bears
Tarik Glenn attended the University of California at Berkeley from 1993 to 1996.
Glenn played defensive lineman for California Golden Bears head football coach Keith Gilbertson in his freshman and sophomore seasons.
The Golden Bears averaged seven wins per season with Glenn wreaking havoc on the defensive line from 1993 to 1994.
California manhandled the Iowa Hawkeyes 37-3 in the inaugural Alamo Bowl on December 31, 1993.
When Gilbertson made Glenn a starting offensive lineman in 1995, his gridiron career took off.
.@economylumber 'building the foundation' feature: Tarik Glenn back working for Cal after a successful NFL career! pic.twitter.com/7DTa0ZLo6m
— Cal Athletics (@CalAthletics) October 9, 2015
Tarik Glenn eventually made a name for himself protecting quarterback Peyton Manning and opening up running holes for running backs Marshall Faulk and Edgerrin James when he played in the National Football League from 1997 to 2006.
Despite Glenn’s stellar play on the offensive line, he regressed in his last two years of college from 1995 to 1996. The Golden Bears averaged barely five wins per season during that two-year stretch.
They lost to the Navy Midshipmen in the 1996 Aloha Bowl, 42-38.
Although Tarik Glenn’s college football career ended on a sour note, he went on to become one of the greatest offensive linemen in Indianapolis Colts franchise history.
Pro Football Career
The Indianapolis Colts made Tarik Glenn the 19th overall selection of the 1997 NFL Draft.
Colts head coach Lindy Infante assigned Glenn to the left guard spot in his rookie year.
Despite Glenn’s presence on the offensive line, Indianapolis stumbled to an abysmal 3-13 win-loss record in 1997. It was the Colts’ worst showing since they won just one game in the 1991 NFL season.
Consequently, Colts owner Jim Irsay fired Infante at the season’s end. Irsay hired former New Orleans Saints head coach Jim Mora to replace him.
When Mora came on board, he assigned Glenn to the left tackle spot to help protect rookie signal caller Peyton Manning.
It was a move that changed the trajectory of Glenn’s legendary pro football career.
Draft experts predicted the Tennessee Volunteers’ Peyton Manning and Washington State Cougars’ quarterback Ryan Leaf would be the top two selections in the 1998 NFL Draft.
Between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Diego Chargers, which had the top two picks, Manning preferred to go to Indy.
He told FOX 59’s Mike Chappell in the spring of 2022 that Indianapolis was closer to Knoxville, TN, where the University of Tennessee campus is located. Indy was also closer to his hometown of New Orleans, LA.
The Most Important Thing For Our Success Is To Keep Our Quarterback Clean, Because We Know What Our Bread & Butter Is.
— Peyton2Luck™️ (@Peyton2L) April 15, 2020
Not only that, but Manning also knew about guys like Marshall Faulk, Marvin Harrison, Adam Meadows, and of course, Tarik Glenn.
Long story short, Manning loved the foundation the Colts were building. He considered Glenn a game-changer at the left tackle position.
“If we didn’t have Tarik, I’m not sure it would have changed anything, but I think I might not have been as excited,” Manning told Chappell in October 2022. “You have a first-round pick as your left tackle from the year before. For a quarterback that’s right-handed, that’s a relief.”
Glenn’s favorite Peyton Manning story occurred in the latter’s rookie year in the NFL in 1998.
Glenn and the Colts were on the road for a game and the home team’s crowd was fired up. Indy’s offensive linemen wore hearing aids which helped block out the crowd noise and amplify the quarterback’s voice, per IndyStar’s Clifton Brown.
Unfortunately, Manning was still learning the ropes of pro football—he hadn’t fully grasped Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd’s famous silent-count technique.
When Manning barked out a play at the line of scrimmage, Glenn didn’t hear what he said.
The rest of the offensive line moved except for Glenn. Consequently, Glenn did not hold off the right edge rusher who was about to smother Manning.
Glenn claimed he yelled at Manning to warn him about the incoming pass rusher. However, Manning did not hear him.
When the Colts’ offense huddled up after the sack, Manning told Glenn he knew his left tackle could not hear him. He insisted there was no way he could also have heard Glenn yelling at him.
Tarik Glenn went on to protect Manning’s blind side for the next nine seasons. The two still laugh about the miscommunication incident whenever they meet for Colts alumni events.
Glenn settled in at left tackle in 1998 and became one of the stalwarts on the Colts’ vaunted offensive line. It was a unit that allowed the fewest sacks in the National Football League for the duration of Glenn’s pro football career.
According to the University of California at Berkeley’s official website, Glenn completed his bachelor’s degree in social work when he entered his third pro football season in 1999.
Just one year later, Tarik wanted to put his background in social work to good use—he had the burning desire to help mold society’s future leaders.
He eventually realized this dream after he retired from the National Football League following the 2006 NFL season.
Unfortunately, Glenn did not get the recognition he deserved as the years went by.
Even when Glenn earned three consecutive Pro Bowl berths from 2004 to 2006, legendary Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden overlooked Glenn’s valuable contributions to the Colts.
At the time, Ogden thought Indy’s brilliance had a lot to do with quarterback Peyton Manning.
A lot of my successes in life is because of this man. His commitment to develop his players was unmatched. I share so many of my fondest memories with him. Love you Howard. You will be missed pic.twitter.com/5jE85v37kg
— Tarik Glenn (@78tglenn) August 13, 2020
An infuriated Colts offensive line coach, Howard Mudd, approached Ogden and pointed at Glenn, who was sitting on one end of the AFC bench.
Mudd threatened Ogden that he would put his game against Glenn’s any time. Mudd thought that Glenn belonged in the upper echelon of left tackles during his heyday in the NFL, per Chappell.
Some hard evidence of this is that Colts quarterback Peyton Manning had the NFL’s best passer rating when Glenn became a Pro Bowler from 2004 to 2006.
However, Glenn’s biggest issue was that he frequently got slapped with false-start penalties.
Mudd often sprang to Glenn’s defense to dispel the notion that his timing coming off the line of scrimmage was questionable.
In fact, Mudd considered Glenn’s grasp of his silent-count technique during loud and rowdy road games second to none.
“Tarik was always right on it,” Mudd told Chappell in 2013. “I don’t know how many times I called (the league) bitching about it.”
On the other hand, Manning raved about Glenn’s stellar work ethic. He loved Glenn’s athleticism and reliability. Manning and the Colts thrived whenever Tarik Glenn was at the top of his game.
Some left tackles need help to ward off ferocious edge rushers. Not Tarik Glenn, though. Manning considered having Glenn around a luxury—the Colts did not need a running back or tight end to help Glenn with his blocking assignment.
Former Colts center and NFL coach Jeff Saturday seconded that notion.
Glenn was one of those rare tackles who could hold off pass rushers by himself from the opening kickoff until the final whistle.
When Saturday played for the Green Bay Packers in 2012, he insisted that their left tackle needed help against Pro Bowl-caliber pass rushers such as the Carolina Panthers Julius Peppers.
From Manning’s and Saturday’s perspectives, Glenn could take them out of the equation by himself when he was with the Colts.
However, Glenn insisted Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore send help his way in some pass-blocking schemes.
“Any offensive tackle who says they went their entire career without any help is lying to you,” Glenn told FOX 59 in the fall of 2022.
One of Howard Mudd’s passions outside of football was riding motorcycles.
Mudd rode cross-country in the summer of 2007. He was in North Dakota on his way to Indiana when Glenn called him on his cell phone.
Mudd was at an inn when Glenn told him he had decided to retire from the National Football League, per IndyStar’s Mike Chappell.
Tarik Glenn & Howard Mudd
1998 ⬅️➡️ 2019 pic.twitter.com/aYU4gC88ZZ
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) June 4, 2019
Mudd asked Glenn if he was sure about his decision. The latter replied in the affirmative.
Glenn finished his career as one of the best offensive linemen in Indianapolis Colts franchise history.
Glenn, a three-time Pro Bowler, had the unenviable task of keeping first-rate pass rushers such as the Miami Dolphins’ Jason Taylor and Buffalo Bills’ Bruce Smith at bay.
Glenn recalled Moore telling him one time that he could square off against Smith all by his lonesome.
That remark boosted Glenn’s confidence. He felt Moore had the utmost faith in his capabilities, per FOX 59.
With Glenn anchoring Indy’s offensive line, the Colts gave up the fewest sacks in the NFL when he took the field from 1998 to 2006.
Glenn and his teammates surrendered just 177 sacks during that memorable nine-season stretch. The Green Bay Packers’ 242 sacks allowed were a distant second, per IndyStar.
Because the offensive line was clicking on all cylinders, the Colts’ offense took off.
Quarterback Peyton Manning’s least productive season was passing for 3,739 yards as a rookie in 1998. He passed for more than 4,000 yards in seven of the next eight seasons.
Manning also earned NFL MVP honors with Glenn protecting his blind side in 2003 and 2004.
Colts halfback Edgerrin James ran for at least 1,259 yards in five of his seven seasons in Indianapolis with Glenn on the offensive line.
James led the NFL in rushing yardage in 1999 and 2000. He also became a four-time Pro Bowler when he wore the Colts’ horseshoe on his helmet from 1999 to 2005.
Both Manning and James are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.
Glenn’s pass-blocking also helped another Hall of Famer, wide receiver Marvin Harrison, lead the league in receiving yardage in 1999 and 2002.
The Colts had a receiver rack up at least 1,000 yards in eight of Glenn’s 10 seasons in Indianapolis, per Colts.com.
Simply put, that’s the Tarik Glenn difference.
Glenn told Chappell in the spring of 2022 that he joined the Colts at a time when Jim Irsay had taken over as team owner after his father, Robert.
Glenn witnessed Indy’s transformation from a cellar dweller in their division to becoming one of the premier teams in the National Football League over the years.
Indy averaged a gaudy 13 wins per season from 1999 to 2006. They won five AFC South division titles during that memorable seven-year time frame.
Renovate is excited to host 2007 Super Bowl Champion Tarik Glenn from the Indianapolis Colts at today's service. pic.twitter.com/Va0iN7sevu
— Renovate Church (@RenovateAustin) February 5, 2017
That stretch culminated in the Colts’ 29-17 victory against the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007.
Glenn and the rest of Indy’s offensive line helped running backs Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes gain 191 yards on the ground.
Tarik Glenn earned the first and only Super Bowl ring of his 10-year pro football career.
Glenn was also a durable iron man who started 167 games for the Colts including the postseason from 1997 to 2006.
The six games Glenn had to sit out in 2003 were due to a strained left knee ligament, per Chappell.
“It’s not only games,” Manning quipped in 2003 (via IndyStar). “He doesn’t miss a practice.”
Former Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne also remembered the look on Glenn’s face whenever Mudd replaced him at left tackle for a few reps in practice just to size up a prospect.
Wayne and his other Colts teammates knew Glenn didn’t like it. He wanted to remain in the game.
For these reasons, Mudd felt Glenn should have had more than just three Pro Bowl selections in his10-year pro football career.
“I don’t think anyone really appreciated how well he played,” Mudd told Chappell in the summer of 2013. “That guy played against really good players.”
Glenn told Indianapolis Monthly’s Nate Miller in the fall of 2016 that his favorite non-football memory in the Circle City was the hospitality and warmth the Hoosiers showed him when he arrived in 1997.
Glenn’s neighbors taught him how to shovel his driveway and gave him food during the Christmas season. Glenn also cherished collaborating with various organizations through his DREAM Alive foundation from 2011 to 2013.
Glenn told Miller his favorite Indianapolis restaurant was Daruma, which had a reputation for serving delicious sushi.
Tarik Glenn, his wife Maya, and their four children Isaiah, Leila, Nia, and Elisha currently reside in the Berkeley, CA area, per Chappell.
Glenn told Indianapolis Monthly in 2016 that the most fulfilling part of raising children was witnessing them grow and reach their utmost potential.
On the other hand, the most frustrating part was his children thinking their parents could not relate to what they were going through.
When Glenn concluded his 10th season with the Indianapolis Colts after winning Super Bowl XLI, he found it easier to move on from football to pursue his passion for helping the youth.
“I didn’t want to allow football to dominate who I was,” Glenn told IndyStar in the summer of 2017. “Football was a big part of who I was, but it wasn’t all of who I was. Winning the Super Bowl made it easier to walk away.”
Four years after Glenn retired from the NFL, he and his wife Maya established the Indianapolis-based non-profit organization DREAM Alive in 2011.
Under Glenn’s leadership, DREAM Alive collaborated with various companies to help seventh-grade students in their academic journey toward high school.
Glenn told Brown the organization was his family’s way of giving back to Indianapolis after all the city had done for them during his 10-year NFL tenure.
— Cathy Wright Eger (@cweboiler) June 5, 2019
Glenn and his family lived in Indianapolis for 16 years. They moved back to his old stomping grounds in the Bay Area when he became UC-Berkeley’s student-athlete development advisor in 2014.
In this role, Tarik oversees and collaborates on initiatives that focus on the total development of student-athletes.
These initiatives include the first-year student-athlete experience, community involvement, career coaching, and career and leadership development.
Glenn is currently UC Berkeley’s deputy director of operations and strategic initiatives, per his official LinkedIn page.
Glenn’s son Tarik Jr. followed in his footsteps and currently plays defensive back for the California Golden Bears.
Glenn told IndyStar in 2017 that he did not encourage his son to play football. He was concerned about injuries and the violent nature of the game.
However, Glenn lowered his guard and eventually allowed his son to play as long as he learned the game’s protocols.
Tarik Sr. gave his son his blessing to strut his wares on the gridiron as long as he was having fun.
He told his son that if the opposite ever holds true, Tarik Jr. should seriously think about his future on the football field. His parents had always encouraged him to follow his other non-football-related interests.
“It’s so special to be able to be considered one of the 18 inductees. Wow. Overwhelming.”
FULL STORY: pic.twitter.com/bA966ORaYg
— Angela Moryan (@SidelineStormer) October 31, 2022
Tarik Glenn became the 18th member of the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor on October 30, 2022.
“You guys have been awesome from 1997 until I retired,” Glenn told Colts fans at his halftime induction at Lucas Oil Stadium (via Colts.com’s Andrew Walker). “I’m so grateful to have played all my ten seasons here in Indianapolis.”
Glenn is currently the offensive line coach of his high school football team, the O’Dowd Dragons.