Former Tide Star Lyons Is SEC Legend

Every year at the Southeastern Conference Football Championship Game, each SEC school has a former player honored as an SEC Legend.For about the last 10 of those, there is a thought about the Alabama legend: "I can't believe he wasn't already in there."

The sentiment towards former Alabama stars will probably continue forever owing to the rich tradition of the Crimson Tide in the SEC. When the league released the names of the seven stars from the Western Division on Thursday, one could have expected to hear, "I can't believe Marty Lyons wasn't already in there."

One of the greatest defensive linemen in Alabama history, Marty Lyons played for Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's Alabama teams from 1975-78. At Alabama, he had career totals of 202 tackles, 6 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries, earning consensus first-team All-America honors as a senior in 1978 when he helped lead the Tide to a national championship. He was a key player in the famous goal line stand in the 1979 Sugar Bowl win over Penn State to win the national title.

He finished the 1978 season with 119 tackles and 15 tackles for loss.

Lyons was named All-SEC in 1977 and 1978 and he was selected to the Tide's Team of the Century. His best game came against Auburn in 1978 (16 tackles, 3 quarterback sacks) in a 34-16 win.

The native of Pinellas Park, Fla., played in the Senior Bowl and in the East-West Shrine Game.

He was a first round NFL Draft pick of the New York Jets in 1979, where he became a member of the famous Sack Exchange.

Lyons is a member of the state of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.

He is also founder of one of the most important charities formed and maintained by any sports figure. The Marty Lyons Foundation, which grants wishes to children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses, has granted wishes to thousands and thousands of children.

The class will be honored at the 2013 SEC Football "Weekend of Champions" Dec. 6-7 in Atlanta. There will be a banquet for the honorees on Friday, December 6, and all honorees will be on the field prior to the SEC Football Championship Game in the Georgia Dome on December 7.

Other honorees from SEC Western Division teams are:

Arkansas defensive tackle Wayne Martin (1985-88); Auburn wide receiver Frank Sanders (1991-94); LSU running back Kevin Faulk (1995-98); Ole Miss linebacker Jeff Herrod (1984-87); Mississippi State defensive lineman Glen Collins (1978-81); and Texas A&M linebacker Dat Nguyen (1995-98).

Previously the Legends from the SEC Eastern Division had been announced. They are:

Florida wide receiver Wes Chandler (1974-77); Georgia tailback TimWorley (1985-88); Kentucky linebacker Wilbur Hackett (1968-70); Missouri quarterback Phil Bradley (1977-80); South Carolina punter Max Runager (1974-78); Tennessee defensive back Inky Johnson (2004-06); and Vanderbilt running back/cornerback Jimmy Williams (1997-2000).

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