One of the key players that fueled the New Orleans Saints transition from perennial losers into contenders in the late 1980s was linebacker Rickey Jackson.
He made an immediate impact as a rookie when he led the team with a franchise rookie record eight sacks and was also the Saints’ leading tackler.
The Saints registered its first winning season and the first playoff appearance in franchise history after they finished 12-3 in 1987.
New Orleans never finished below .500 during Jackson’s final seven years with the team.
Jackson retired after the 1995 season with 128 career sacks that does not include his rookie total since the sack did not become an official statistic until 1982. He also intercepted eight passes during his 227-game NFL career.
In 1983 he established himself as an elite pass rusher in the NFL when he recorded 12 sacks. That year marked the first of six double-digit sack totals in his career.
Jackson's efforts in the 1983 season earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl for the first time. In all, he was named to the Pro Bowl six times including his final year in New Orleans in 1993.
Jackson takes a moment to sign a Hall of Fame helmet.
The New Orleans Saints drafted Rickey Jackson in the second round (51st player overall) in 1981. Jackson started all 16 games during his rookie campaign.
Jackson, a Pahokee, FL native, became a starter for Pitt in 1979.
Jackson recorded 111 tackles in his first season as a starter at Pitt.
Jackson earned ABC Player of the Game honors vs. Penn State in 1980. He also played in the Senior Bowl and was Defensive MVP in the East-West Shrine Game.
Rickey is measured for his Hall of Fame jacket in early February.
Rickey Jackson's Hall of Fame bust.
Jackson poses with his bust following his speech.
Rickey Jackson poses with Saints owner, Tom Benson.
Rickey Jackson delivers his Enshrinement speech on Aug. 7, 2010.
Rickey Jackson's Hall of Fame mural.