Born: May 29, 1991

"Dreams don't work unless you do." - Justin Britt

Growing up in Lebanon, Mo., Justin Britt was never far away from sports.

“My time in Lebanon was filled with nothing but sports, from football, wrestling, all the way to track and even baseball in middle school,” he said.

Britt was a multi-sport athlete in high school, participating in football, wrestling, and track & field. He won a state championship in wrestling and was All-State in football.

“I always preach about being a multi-sport athlete and the importance of that,” he said. “Wrestling gave me the competitive edge of ‘Man in the Arena’ with all eyes on me. Track, on the other hand, was purely a way for me to miss class some days, just enjoying the weather. I did run the 200-meter though!”

All kidding aside, Britt had a storied athletics career at Lebanon and later for Mizzou and in the NFL. For his excellence on the football field at all three levels, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted Justin Britt as a member of its Class of 2024.

How impressive was Britt’s career at Lebanon? He was All-State as both an offensive and defensive lineman. He was a state champion in wrestling as a senior, going 46-0 on the mat.

Had he not committed to Mizzou so early, could he have gone on to be a collegiate wrestler?

“I honestly don’t know if I would have had a career in wrestling,” Britt said. “It would be nice to think so, but I was quick to commit to Mizzou and close my recruiting window.”

He had tremendous success in Columbia once he committed himself to one sport. While coaching played a large role in that success, Mizzou’s transition to the SEC also had a major impact.

“As much fun as it was playing the Big 12 after watching those opponents for so long, Mizzou entering the SEC was the best decision for not only my career but everyone’s,” Britt said. “At the time the SEC was the dominant conference leading the way for viewing and TV slots. This led to more exposure for us as players.”

One major piece of that exposure for Britt came on October 26, 2013, when he was matched up with eventual No. 1 overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney as Missouri faced South Carolina.

His dominant performance caught the attention of NFL scouts and coaches across the country, including legendary offensive line coach Tom Cable, who eventually became his mentor when Britt was drafted in the second round by the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.

At 6-6, 315-pounds during his playing days, Britt was straight out of offensive lineman central casting. He displayed impressive versatility, too, especially as a pro. A left tackle at Mizzou, Britt started at right tackle during his rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks on their march to a second straight Super Bowl, before moving to right guard the next year, and eventually to center, where he became one of the league’s best.

“I didn’t ask to change positions each of my first three years, though it was a huge blessing in ultimately leading me to center,” Britt said. “But the challenges were noticeable, I’m sure.”

Britt not only stepped right into a starting role as a rookie for the defending Super Bowl champions, he played with and was coached by, some of the NFL’s best.

“Being drafted to the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks in 2014 was a dream come true,” Britt said. “Being able to learn from fellow teammates like Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, and coaches like Pete Carroll and Tom Cable was out of this world to me at the time. I never met individuals so hungry for success.”

Britt started 87 of the first 88 games of his NFL career, eventually parlaying his success into a coveted second multi-year contract. But a knee injury eight games into the season effectively ended his Seahawks career and put him on the shelf through the 2020 season.

He re-emerged with the Houston Texans in 2021, signing a two-year contract. But knee issues persisted, leading to his retirement from the game last spring.

For Britt, his selection to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame came at the right time.

“Receiving the call to be inducted into Missouri Sports Hall of Fame was certainly a surprise, but a huge honor and privilege,” Britt said. “It made me take a personal step back and see my career from a different perspective. It’s an awesome way to close the book on my career.”