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Rich Jackson at the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club

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  • Rich Jackson at the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club

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ID:	2505753"I don't want to play pro football. I want to get a degree and get a job." That's what All-Pro Denver Broncos defensive end Rich Jackson told the Cleveland Browns when he was drafted in the NFL. Jackson told this story and many others to a Denver Broncos Quarterback Club breakfast group today.Jackson turned down the NFL, finished his degree, and then got a graduate degree before considering the NFL.

    Lucky for the Broncos an Oakland Raiders scout convinced him to try out for the Raiders and Jackson finally relented. Later traded by Oakland to the Broncos for Lionel Taylor, Jackson went on to become the first Bronco named to the NFL All Pro team in 1970. He had 10 sacks in the 1968 and 1970 seasons, and 11 sacks in 1971. The late Paul Zimmerman, who covered the NFL for decades for Sports Illustrated, named Jackson to his All Century Team in 1999. "In his prime," Zimmerman wrote, "he was the very best run-pass defensive end the game has seen."

    Jackson told us about his high school days. "I wanted to play running back, not the defensive line. The coach put me on the d-line." Jackson was an excellent athlete. "I always kept myself in shape. I ran a 9.8 100 yard dash in track, and that speed carried over to football. I could bench press 555 pounds."

    Jackson said he was told by the Raiders at 3 am one morning he was traded to the Broncos. "I drove non-stop from Oakland to Denver," he said, "I had never seen mountains or snow until I got to Denver."

    Jackson showed us the same mild mannered personality off the field as he had in his playing days. But on the field he was a terror. Sacking quarterbacks was his favorite activity. "I loved to make love to the quarterback," he said. "Teammate Paul Smith and I used to say we are going to pray at the quarterback. That was church for us." Also known for his vicious head slap move, Jackson told us he'd look in the stands for the parents of the offensive tackle he was facing. "I wanted to see them cry."

    Jackson related how he was disappointed the Broncos traded away two talented defensive linemen during his time in Denver. "Curly Culp was just what the Chiefs needed when we traded him to KC. Alden Roche was our second round draft choice, but then we traded him to Green Bay where he played for the Packers and Seahawks for eight more years. I disagreed with some of the moves but I focused on being the best I could be on the field."

    "I hope I gave you something nice to look at," Jackson said as a message to Bronco fans everywhere. He certainly did. The Broncos were not a good team in the late 60's and early 70's but stars like Jackson and Floyd Little gave the fans something to cheer about.

    For more on Jackson's careeer watch this excellent short video from NFL Films:

  • #2
    Oh this is the guy Dmac had never heard of, couldn't understand why he was on the list of top Broncos... you know, Broncos history from only 1996 to present counts apparently...


    • #3
      Incredible player on crap teams. He’s definitely a Broncos legend. I loved the OT’s parents comment.

      Thank you for sharing.