is the first long-time player for the New Orleans Saints to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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Two decades after the franchise was founded, the New Orleans Saints made the playoffs for the first time in 1987. was an integral part of his team's winning ways that season. He continued his high level of play in the postseason with 10 tackles, one sack, and two passes defensed in the 1987 NFC Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Vikings on Jan. 3, 1988. Despite his efforts the Saints fell to the Vikings, 44-10.
Jackson racked up 123 sacks for a combined 873 yards in total losses during his tenure with the Saints. He produced more than one sack in 29 games and recorded three or more sacks five times in his NFL career.
Jackson registered his first of his two career four-sack games against the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 14, 1986. In all he finished with 10 tackles, one assist, and four sacks that day. His last sack of the day came on the final play of regulation as Atlanta attempted to score the go-ahead touchdown from the New Orleans' five-yard line. Jackson sacked quarterback Turk Schonert to preserve the Saints' 14-9 victory. His other four-sack game performance came on Sept. 18, 1988 against the Detroit Lions. He also registered a safety in that game.
Rickey recovered seven fumbles in the 1990 season to break the Saints' single-season record, a mark that still stands today. His fumble total also placed him in a third-place tie in the NFL record book for Most Opponents' Fumbles Recovered in a season. In all, Jackson collected 28 opponents fumbles in his career. The only player in NFL history to have more is Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall who has one more recovery than Jackson.
Jackson only missed two games during his entire 227-game career. The two he missed were a direct result of a 1989 car accident that left his face fractured and put him through 3½ hours of surgery. However, the fact that Jackson only missed two games is remarkable considering doctors gave him a recovery time of four to six weeks.
The New Orleans Saints struggled early in their history, never posting a winning season from 1967-1986, and compiling just 55 victories in their first 14 seasons. During Jackson's 13-year career from 1981-1993 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 from thrown by future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Rickey's first career interception was against Joe Montana on Nov. 11, 1982. His final career pickoff occurred on Nov. 12, 1995 against Troy Aikman.
Jackson was selected in the second round, 51st overall in 1981. He played longer (15 seasons) than any of the eight linebackers chosen before him in the 1981 NFL Draft, including Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor and Mike Singletary.
"Pads -- I wasn't about all that. The only time I wore pads was when the NFL made me.'' -
"There was nothing he couldn't do. You couldn't say he could do this but not do that. He could 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 GM of the Saints
"In all those years, the only thing that was able to stop Rickey was a two-ton truck. And that didn't really stop him. It just slowed him down." - Stan Brock, former 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." -
"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 at being the best." - John Paul Young, former Saints linebackers coach
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