Richard Jackson, an All-Pro defensive end with the Denver Broncos, was first selected as Professional Athlete of the Year in 1970, by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. That same Hall of Fame selected him for membership in 1975.
As a high school athlete in Louisiana, Jackson was on a state championship football team when chosen for All-State honors as both offensive and defensive tackle; and in track, he threw the discus, javelin and shot, as well as anchoring relay teams and running the 220-yard dash.
At Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he was a standout as a defensive and offensive end and was also winner of the NAIA shot-put competition in 1962. His fifty-eight foot one-inch heave in 1964 is still a Louisiana collegiate record.
After his senior year in college, he was passed over in the National Football League draft, so he signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent in 1965. He was then acquired by the Broncos at the opening of training camp in 1967, took over at left defensive end and showed the quickness that was to become his trademark in professional football.
Jackson played all fourteen American Football League games in his first season; and; after the 1968 season, he participated in the AFL All-Star game. He repeated that honor in 1969 and made most of the AFL All-Star teams named by players and press, as well as being named defensive lineman of the year. 1970 brought the merger of the AFL and NFL, and greater recognition for Jackson as a member of the All-NFL first team and member of every major All-Pro team, the first Bronco ever included with the league’s elite. Even after missing half of the 1971 season following knee surgery, he appeared with the AFC team in the Pro Bowl.
Jackson was traded to Cleveland and participated in ten games for the Browns before getting injured again, thus finishing his professional football career.
Since retirement from football, he has worked as a teacher and coach instructing such notable athletes as Willie “Truck” Turner, a world-class sprinter who attended Louisiana State University, and Timothy Moore, an outstanding defensive lineman.
Ironically, Jackson cites his most memorable moment in sports as occurring while he was a member of a softball team representing the NFL Players Association in Paris, France. In one game, he drove in six runs with a grand slam homer and a triple and then stole home to give the Americans a seven to six victory over a fine French team.
After retirement, Jackson, his wife and two daughters lived in New Orleans where he coached and taught health and physical education, as well as directing a recreation department summer camp.
“I felt greatly honored by my induction into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame,” Jackson says, “because I will forever cherish fond memories of the people of Denver, and my induction into the hall lets me know that they, too, hold fond memories of me.”
I will forever cherish fond memories of the people of Denver, and my induction into the hall lets me know that they, too, hold fond memories of me.