Biography: Rich Jackson, DE

Rich Jackson
Denver Broncos defensive end Rich Jackson in 1970. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)
Rich Jackson was one of the four original Ring of Famers who were inducted in 1984 and was recognized for his six outstanding seasons with the Broncos from 1967-72.

He was considered by many as the best defensive end in professional football during his prime.

Known as “Tombstone,” Jackson was the first Bronco to be named to the All-NFL first team in 1970. His 43 sacks as a Bronco were the most by any player in club history at the conclusion of his career. He entered the AFL in 1966 with Oakland, playing in five games, before spending the next six seasons with Denver after the Broncos acquired him in a trade. Jackson posted his career high in quarterback sacks in 1969 with 11 and had 10 sacks in both ‘68 and ‘70. He was voted All-AFL in 1968 and ‘69 in addition to starting in the 1970 Pro Bowl. He made the Pro Bowl again in 1971 despite playing in only seven games due to a knee injury that eventually forced him out of football. That season, he was graded by the Broncos’ coaches as the team’s most efficient tackler as he made the stop on 97 percent of his opportunities.

Tabbed the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Pro Athlete of the Year in 1970, Jackson played the first four games of the 1972 season with the Broncos before being traded to Cleveland for a 1973 third-round draft choice (Paul Howard). He played in each of the final 10 games for the Browns in 1972 during his final NFL season. He was a standout end at Southern University on both sides of the ball and also was the NAIA shot-put champion.