A defensive player in football that is responsible for receiving and relaying the defensive play call and will often be one of the most active defensive players as they are called upon to stuff gaps on run plays or fall back into coverage to deflect/intercept passes by reading the quarterback on passing plays. The Middle Linebacker is considered to have a more dynamic role as the play develops compared to other defensive players who have more set and specific tasks. Middle Linebackers will often lead the team in tackles and passes defensed as they are most often found around players with the ball.
Also known as "Mike" or "Mack."
The Middle Linebacker is a part of the linebacking core who generally lineup 3-5 yards from the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen and provide additional run or passing protection depending on their read of the offense. In 3-4 defensive schemes, the Middle Linebacker is more often referred to as the Inside Linebacker.