Biography: Gary Zimmerman, T

Gary Zimmerman
Denver Broncos offensive lineman Gary Zimmerman, left, listens as owner Pat Bowlen list Zimerman’s acomplishments as his named is added to the “Ring of Fame” at the Broncos’ stadium during halftime ceremonies in Denver on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2003. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Gary Zimmerman, named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2008, was inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame in 2003.

He played tackle for the Broncos for five seasons (1993-97) and became the first offensive lineman in the history of the franchise to be honored with inclusion in the Ring.

A finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame from 2003-04 and ‘06-07 before he joined John Elway as the second HOF inductee who spent a primary portion of his career in Denver, Zimmerman was acquired by the Broncos in a trade from Minnesota on Aug. 24, 1993, after playing his first seven years with the Vikings. He was named to the Pro Bowl three times (1994-96) as a Bronco and helped the franchise to its first-ever World Championship with a victory over Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII during his final season in 1997.

Zimmerman, who started all 76 games played as a Bronco, helped Denver lead the NFL in total yards twice (1996-97) and record three consecutive top-5 league rushing rankings (1995-97), including an NFL-best mark in 1996.

During his 12 seasons in the NFL from 1986-97, Zimmerman started all 184 games played and was named to seven Pro Bowls (1987-89, ‘92, ‘94-96) while receiving first-or second-team All-Pro honors eight times. He holds the unique distinction of being one of only a handful of players to be named to two NFL All-Decade Teams (1980s and 1990s).

Picked in the first round (third overall) of the 1984 supplemental draft by the New York Giants, his signing rights were traded to the Vikings for two second-round picks in the 1986 draft. He spent two seasons with the L.A. Express of the USFL before reporting to Minnesota, where he began a streak of 169 consecutive starts that lasted until 1996 when surgery sidelined him.

Zimmerman, who helped the Vikings lead the NFC in rushing in 1991, anchored offensive lines that blocked for a conference’s leading passer four times during his career (1986, ‘88, ‘93, ‘96). He played at the University of Oregon, where he received first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference honors as a senior.