Born: October 13, 1983 (Wichita, KS)
Graduated: Wichita Northwest H.S., 2001 / Florida State University, 2006
Family and football are what it’s all about for Wichita native Kamerion Wimbley. He was a “football fanatic as a kid” and that his favorite memories growing up were watching the NFL and college football with his family. To him, it was football bonded them together and led to his ultimate success as an athlete.
Wimbley played many sports growing up, including baseball, basketball and running track, but football was always his first love. In high school at Wichita Northwest, Wimbley did it all by logging time as a defensive end, linebacker, quarterback, receiver, and punter. He was selected as a high school football All-American and played in the 2002 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
As one of the nation’s highest recruits that year, Wimbley garnered a lot of attention. But when it came time for him to choose his college, he felt it was an easy choice. Wimbley grew up as a Florida State fan and loved the swag that the team presented on the field. He was dazzled by the fact that they were continuously nationally ranked and that he would be coached by a living legend in Bobby Bowden.
During his time with the Seminoles, Wimbley was a four-year letter winner and earned All-ACC honors as a senior. His time in Florida also allowed him to see something different than the place he had always called home. Wimbley credits his time at Florida State with helping him get to the NFL.
When Wimbley was drafted as the 13th pick overall in the 2006 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns he said, “It was surreal because his dreams and reality were meeting.” It changed his family history forever. He played in all sixteen games later that year and finished his rookie campaign with eleven sacks and forty-four tackles.
His new platform playing in the NFL allowed him to make a lot of connections and he always made sure to tell people he was from Wichita and share his story of where he started.
On the field, Wimbley continued to do it all, playing nine professional seasons for the Browns, Oakland Raiders, and Tennessee Titans. For his career, he totaled 322 tackles, 120 tackle assists, 53.5 sacks, two interceptions, eight forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.
Wimbley relished his career because of the uniqueness of the teams he played for, saying, “The Browns are historic because of the fan base. The Raiders were the most fun because of the nasty demeanor of the team, the environment, culture, fashion, and entertainment. The Titans because of the music, the people, and just enjoying the game with my kids.”
Football and family had always gone together for Wimbley, but in 2015, he felt he had enough of one and retired from football to spend more time on the other, his family. His retirement allowed him to move on to the next phase of life, to pursue a wide range of business opportunities and to reconnect with the people and places that shaped his life, including his hometown of Wichita.
In his free time, Wimbley enjoys spending time with his daughters, speaking to youth, and fishing. He knows he had a great career but also recognizes that he wouldn’t have been able to do any of it, or be an inductee to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame today, without the support of his family and the people of Wichita.
By: Molly Hackett