Thursday, 05 August 2010 17:41

New Orleans Saints Rickey Jackson Awaits Hall Of Fame Induction Saturday

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staton1On Saturday evening in Canton, Ohio, Rickey Jackson will step to the lectern and be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He'll become the first such honoree for a Saint player who played most of his career here. In the hearts of old-time Saints fans, he's No. 1.

He'll join nine other enshrines " Russ Grimm, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, John Randle, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith:

The Saints struggled early in their history, never posting a winning season from 1967-1986 and compiling 55 victories in the first 14 seasons. During Jackson's 13-year career from 1981-l993 the Saints recorded 105 regular-season victories and never finished below .500 during his final seven years with the club.

Jackson intercepted eight passes during his 15-year career. In games that Jackson intercepted a pass his teams had a record of 7-1. His first and last picks were thrown by future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Rickey's first career interception was against Joe Montana in 1982. His final career pickoff occurred in1995 against Troy Aikman.

He rarely wore any pads under his uniform. "I wasn't about that," explained Jackson. "The only time I wore pads was when the NFL made me."

Quotes on Jackson:

"There was nothing he couldn't do. You couldn't say he could do this he could do that. He would rush the passer. He could play the run. He could drop into coverage. He could do all those things." -- Jim  Mora, former coach.

"Rickey was born to play football.. Period."  -- Jim Finks, Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1995, former Saints GM.

"In all those years, the only thing that was able to stop Rickey was a two-ton truck. And that really didn't stop him. It just slowed him down," -- Stan Brock, former Saints and Chargers offensive tackle.

"Football is the reason for everything I've ever been able to have. That's why it's so important to me. It's everything for me."  Jackson.

"He was a player with a lot of natural ability, a good instinctual player who knew where to go on almost every play, but he never stopped working and improving." -- John Paul Young, former Saints linebackers coach.

"He's a player who knows how to take advantage of his abilities, and he's totally dedicated to excellence. He works hard as being the best."-- Young.

Rickey Jackson bio:
Position: Linebacker. Ht,/Wt: 6-2, 243. College: Pittsburgh.
Yrs/Teams: 1981-1993: Saints, 1981-1993, 49ers, 1994-95.
Pro Career: 15 playing seasons, 227 games....Selected by Saints in 2nd round (51st  over-all) in1981 draft)...One of key players that fueled Saints transition from perennial losers into contenders in the late 1980s...Made immediate impact as rookie when he led team with franchise rookie record eight sacks and was leading tackler...In 19823 established himself as elite pass rusher recording 12 sacks....That year marked first of six double-digit sacks total in  his career...Also earned Jackson first of six trips to Pro Bowl...Named first team All-Pro 1986, 1987, 2992, 1993...In 1987, Saints first winning season, Jackson recorded 9.5 sacks, 74 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 3 passes defensed...Team never finished below .500 during Jackson's final seven seasons...Jackson finished NFL career with two seasons with the 49ers who converted him to defensive end and pass rush specialist...Retired after 1995 season with 128 career sacks and that does not include rookie total since sacks did not count become official statistic until 1982....Also intercepted eight passes during career...Born March 20, 1958 in Panokee, Fla.

Rickey was Ricky. It says that on his birth certificate, driver's license and most everything legal, but while playing high school football, he stuck the "e" in there.

"I just liked the K-E-Y," said Jackson.

by Ed Staton

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