NFL Inside Linebacker

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

An NFL Inside Linebacker job description involves being part of the defensive team that ensures the opposing team doesn't score. The linebacker position is considered one of the most important positions in the game, responsible for making crucial tackles and ensuring that no offensive plays make it through the line of defense. The NFL Inside Linebacker focuses on guarding the middle of the field, reading the quarterback's play, and making instinctive decisions on where to be positioned. They need to be able to anticipate the opposing team's next move and adjust quickly to ensure that they remain in position to make a tackle. Exceptional speed, agility, and strength are key as the role requires stopping running backs, and taking down tight ends and receivers. The NFL Inside Linebacker job description emphasizes the need for quick thinking and teamwork to ensure success on the field.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Stop the opposing team’s running game.
  • Participate in pass coverage.
  • Help make tackles on running plays.
  • Call out plays and communicate with the defense.
  • Blitz the quarterback on occasion.
  • Monitor the backfield and watch for fake plays.
  • Analyze the offensive lines and make adjustments.
  • Coordinate with defensive linemen and outside linebackers.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become an NFL Inside Linebacker, you need to have a combination of education and experience. A high school diploma or GED is required to enter college, where a degree in sports science, physical education, or a similar field can give you an advantage. But education alone is not enough. You also need to play football at a high level, usually starting with high school or even earlier. Playing in college, whether at a Division I or smaller school, is essential for gaining experience and exposure. A successful college career can lead to a shot at the NFL, where scouts look for players with the right combination of size, strength, speed, agility, and intelligence to play the demanding position of Inside Linebacker.

Salary Range

As an NFL Inside Linebacker, you can expect to be well-rewarded for your effort on the field. In the United States, the average salary range for an NFL Inside Linebacker is between $500,000 and $10 million per year, with the highest-paid players earning over $15 million annually. However, salaries can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, team, and performance. For example, according to Spotrac, the top-paid Inside Linebacker in the NFL currently is Bobby Wagner, who earns $18 million per year.

Outside of the United States, salary ranges for Inside Linebackers in other countries' professional leagues may differ. In the Canadian Football League (CFL), for instance, top players can earn up to $200,000 per season. 


  • Spotrac:
  • Forbes:

Career Outlook

The career outlook for NFL inside linebackers in the sports industry over the next 5 years is not crystal clear. Recent data shows that the overall employment of athletes and sports competitors may grow by 7 percent from 2016 to 2026. However, that percentage may not accurately reflect the trend for specific positions like inside linebackers. Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many changes to the sports industry that may have long-term effects. Despite being one of the most physically demanding positions in football, some teams are starting to use more defensive backs in their formations, which could lead to fewer opportunities for traditional inside linebackers. That being said, there will always be a demand for strong, versatile, and skilled inside linebackers to lead defenses, so it's possible that the career outlook will remain steady.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does an NFL Inside Linebacker do?

A: An NFL Inside Linebacker is responsible for defending against the run and pass, making tackles, and calling plays.

Q: What skills do you need to be an NFL Inside Linebacker?

A: NFL Inside Linebackers must have speed, agility, strength, and the ability to read offenses quickly.

Q: What kind of training is required to become an NFL Inside Linebacker?

A: To become an NFL Inside Linebacker, players need to train extensively in strength and conditioning, agility, tackling techniques, and studying film.

Q: How does an Inside Linebacker differ from an Outside Linebacker?

A: Inside Linebackers play closer to the center of the field, while Outside Linebackers line up on the edges of the defense. Inside Linebackers are typically responsible for covering tight ends and running backs.

Q: What is the average salary for an NFL Inside Linebacker?

A: The average salary for an NFL Inside Linebacker is around $1.4 million per year, with some players earning upwards of $10 million per year.

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