Biography: Karl Mecklenburg, LB

Karl Mecklenberg
Linebacker Karl Mecklenberg (77) of the Denver Broncos runs 20 yards with a fumble recovery for a touchdown December 16, 1989 against the Arizona Cardinals in Tempe, Arizona. The Broncos won 37 – 0. (AP Photo / Al Messerschmidt)
Karl Mecklenburg joined the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame in 2001 after establishing himself as one of the most outstanding defensive players in franchise history during his 12-year career from 1983-94.

Mecklenburg overcame long odds to achieve greatness after being drafted by the Broncos in the 12th round from the University of Minnesota in 1983—the 310th player chosen. After playing defensive end during his first professional season, Mecklenburg was converted to linebacker in 1984. He became a starter by his third season in 1985 and went on to start 141 career games, a total that includes all 16 games in a year during five different campaigns. His 180 career games played with Denver placed him fifth on the club’s all-time list at the end of his tenure with the team (currently ninth).

Mecklenburg was voted to play in six Pro Bowls (1985-87, ‘89, ‘91, ‘93), a total that ties for the fifth highest by a player in team history. He was named All-AFC and All-NFL four times (1985-87, ‘89) and was tabbed the 1986 AFC Player of the Year by Football News .

Mecklenburg helped Denver to seven postseason appearances (1983-84, ‘86-87, ‘89, ‘91, ‘93), five division titles (1984, ‘86-87, ‘89, ‘91) and three Super Bowl berths (XXI in 1986, XXII in ‘87, XXIV in ‘89). He finished his career with 1,145 tackles (787 solo) as well as a franchise-record 79 sacks.

Mecklenburg’s career high of 13 sacks came in 1985 and (then a franchise single-season record), and he posted eight seasons with at least seven sacks. He recorded 11 multiple-sack games and is the only player in team annals to record four sacks in a game twice in his career. Mecklenburg posted 100 tackles in a season six times, including a career and team-high 143 stops in 1989.

Mecklenburg began his collegiate career at Augustana (S.D.) College before transferring to Minnesota, where he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 1982.