Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Randy Gradishar

Inducted in 1989 was linebacker Randy Gradishar. #53 was the best linebacker in team history. He played 10 years with the Broncos, going to 7 Pro Bowls. It is a shame he is still not in the Hall of Fame. Gradishar averaged an unheard of 14 tackles a game for his career.

During his career, Gradishar was a seven-time Pro Bowler, the most by any Bronco at the end of his career, and he is also the all-time leader in tackles for Denver, finishing with 2,049. Gradishar never missed a game, playing in 145 in a row. He accounted for 33 turnovers in his career (20 INTs and 13 fumble recoveries) and was voted the Defensive Player of the Year in 1978 by AP, UPI, Pro Football Weekly and NEA (George Halas Award). His teammates also voted him team defensive MVP in 1978 and 1980. While at Ohio State, Gradishar was referred to by his head coach -- the legendary Woody Hayes -- as "the best linebacker I ever coached at Ohio State." Randy was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes and was named to every All-America team following his senior season, as well as being an Academic All-America selection, graduating with a degree in distributive education. Gradishar was also the president of the Denver Broncos Youth Foundation from 1982-92. He was inducted in 1998 into the College Football Hall of Fame.

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