“I never knew how far it would take me. I only knew that I loved to play football. This induction will forever be a reminder of how a kid from South Sac fulfilled his dream.” Thank you to the fans and friends in my hometown and this honor of being part of the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame.”
High School: Elk Grove
College: University of Arizona
* NFL Career: 12 Years (Chicago)
* 7 Time NFL Pro Bowl Selection (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009,
* 3 Time NFL All-Pro (2005, 2006, 2009)
* NFC Champion (2006)
Lance was born in Los Angeles and lived in several areas throughout California. His family lived in Oakland before his mother took a job with the city of Sacramento when he was four years old. Growing up in Meadowview, Lance didn’t stay in the same home or neighborhood for long periods of time as the family moved often. He attended three different elementary schools and two different high schools. Things were difficult growing up, but Lance found sports as an outlet. He played baseball at Florin Little League and then he fell in love with football. There was one problem, he was a very small kid and didn’t weigh enough to play Pop Warner Football. Weighing only 63¾ pounds, he was a quarter pound shy of the necessary weight limit. He was allowed to be on the team, but he didn’t play much.
His freshman year, he attended Florin High School, but his grades weren’t good enough to allow him to play. Looking for a fresh start, he transferred to Elk Grove which would help define him as a player and a person. After taking extra time to get his grades up, Lance played on the Junior Varsity team his sophomore year. He was an elite running back and linebacker. His junior year was a real turning point as he was part of one of the best varsity programs in the area. The Thundering Herd won the Section Championship in 1997 and 1998 and Lance was a big part of it. In his senior season, Elk Grove went undefeated and he was named the Sacramento Area Player of the Year.
Lance’s play at Elk Grove gained him notoriety from colleges throughout the country. After hundreds of scholarship offers, he decided on the University of Arizona. Lance was a perfect fit for the famed “desert swarm” defense. He actually began playing both offense and defense. He played fullback and tailback his first year but after his impressive performances on the defensive side of the ball, Lance became a fulltime linebacker. His outstanding play earned him a 2-time
All-Pacific 10 Conference selection: leading the Wildcats in tackles and sacks.
After a stellar college career, Lance was drafted in the third round of the NFL draft by the Chicago Bears. It would be the only team he would play for over the next 12 seasons. With the Bears, he shined tremendously. Teaming with fellow linebacker Brian Urlacher, they formed one of the best defensive tandems in the NFL.
In 2005, he helped lead the Bears into the playoffs as one of the top defensive teams in the league. The next year, Chicago had a magical season. After winning the NFC North division for a second straight year, they finished the regular season with the NFL’s best record of 13-3. The Bears went into the playoffs as the #1 seed. After defeating Seattle in overtime, Chicago faced off against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Lance was the second leading tackler for the Bears in that game while having two tackles for losses. The Bears defeated the Saints 39-14 to advance to their first Super Bowl since 1985.
In Super Bowl XLI, Chicago would face another legendary quarterback in Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. In a rain soaked game in Miami, the Bears’ run would come to an end. Although the Bears lost, Lance was at his best. Once again, Lance was outstanding: he was the leading tackler in the game with 13 of tackles, including 11 solo takedowns.
His outstanding play earned him seven straight Pro Bowl selections from 2006 - 2012; an amazing feat that only a few players have accomplished in the NFL. He also earned three All-Pro selections while being one of the most prolific defensive players in the NFL. In his 12 years, Lance accumulated 1,174 tackles with 15 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, 16 interceptions and scored five defensive touchdowns. He was elected team captain of one of the league’s best defenses.
Lance is still connected to the Bears organization as he works as a television analyst for NBC Sports Chicago. Lance is remembered for being a hardnosed player who succeeded at all levels and a person that loves his hometown. He came back to start businesses; create charitable organizations and camps for kids. Lance is an inspiration both on and off the field and is an example to people everywhere. His is truly one of the most accomplished football players from the Sacramento area.