Blades played a big part in the University of Miami’s winning the 1987 NCAA National Championship. He also won the Jim Thorpe Award in that year and, in 2006, was named to the College Football Hall of Fame for his play at the University of Miami.
Following his graduation from the University of Miami, Blades entered the 1988 NFL Draft and spent ten seasons in the NFL. He played for the Detroit Lions from 1988–1996 and the 1997 season with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Lions selected Blades with the third overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft, and he went on to earn NFL All-Rookie honors for the 1988 season. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1991 – in addition to receiving First-Team All-NFL and First-team All-NFC honors. He was the Lions’ Defensive MVP in 1992 and led the team with 132 tackles in 1996, which was one of three 100-tackle seasons he had in Detroit.