Shelton Quarles' standout 10-year career in the NFL was the result of, in part, one particularly good piece of pro scouting. Fitting, then, that Quarles would transition smoothly into the arena of pro scouting following the end of his run as a player.
And now that career in player evaluation has taken another step forward. On Thursday, Quarles was promoted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the post of coordinator of pro scouting.
Quarles, who first joined the Buccaneers as a player in 1997, began his second career with the team in 2007 as a pro scout. He has worked in that position since, helping the franchise through an impressive rebuilding process that produced a 10-6 record in 2010 despite its status as the youngest team in the NFL. Quarles also lent his efforts to the Buccaneers' 2007 NFC South title in his first year as a scout.
During his 10-year tenure on the field (1997-2006), Quarles established himself as one of the best linebackers in team history. His 985 career tackles ranks fourth in team history and among linebackers trails only the totals of Derrick Brooks and Hardy Nickerson. He was also one of the more versatile defenders in team annals, starting for three seasons at strongside linebacker before transitioning to middle linebacker in 2002 and earning Pro Bowl honors in his first year at that position.
In all, Quarles appeared in 148 games as a Buccaneer (eighth-most in team history) and started 113 (ninth), amassing nearly 1,000 tackles and adding 13 sacks, four interceptions and 28 passes defensed. In 2005, he racked up 196 tackles, the third-highest single-season total ever by a Tampa Bay player. His 98-yard interception return for a touchdown against Green Bay on Oct. 7, 2001 is the longest scoring play of any kind in franchise history.
In 2002, Quarles helped the Buccaneers capture their first Super Bowl title with his Pro Bowl campaign. He was also a member of playoff teams in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005.
He first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Miami Dolphins in 1994 but was released prior to the regular season. Quarles then played in the Canadian Football League in 1995 and 1996 before making his return to the NFL with the Buccaneers. He was acquired by Tampa Bay after then-pro scout Mark Dominik evaluated him with the British Columbia Lions and recommended his signing. In his current role, Quarles is part of the staff assembled by Dominik, who has been the team's general manager since January of 2009.