Class of 2010 Hall of Fame enshrinee Rickey Jackson was one of the most durable linebackers in NFL history. During his 13 seasons with the New Orleans Saints and two with the San Francisco 49ers, Jackson missed only two games due to an injury. The injury that caused him to miss those two games, however, was not sustained on the football field.
Jackson suffered a broken cheekbone in an automobile accident on Nov. 17, 1989. The injury was so serious that doctors expected the four-time All-Pro to miss four to six weeks of action.
Rickey, however, had other ideas and demonstrated the resilience and tenacity that he was known for throughout his entire career. With his jaw wired shut, Jackson returned to the playing field after missing just two games. He played the remainder of the 1989 season while wearing a special helmet to help protect his face. That helmet was sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame just five days before his enshrinement.
It is now on exhibit in the Hall’s Moments, Memories & Mementos Gallery.